I desperately want a Prada bag.
A genuine, $5000, brand spanking new Prada bag, and I want to buy it in Tokyo and Tokyo alone.
In Japan, every woman (at least, every woman that I saw during my 4 separate trips and incalculable hours walking the streets of Tokyo and Kyoto) carries either a Prada, a Gucci or a Louis Vuitton.
So yeah, I want a real Prada bag. Funny enough, it actually hurts me to see the beautiful bags with the starving, skinny and strange looking models carrying them or wrapping them around their bodies in questionable fashion – total bag abuse if you ask me! – but the bag itself, the exquisitely designed gorgeous bag, now that’s something after which I lust quietly!
Do you have any such inexplicable desires? Is there not a small part of you that fantasizes about something at least half as outlandish as my little Prada?
Here you are, building your life around the concepts of simplicity and acceptance and maybe your own measure of minimalism, and suddenly, the urge comes over you: the urge to buy something very unnecessary and outrageously expensive and you can’t get the darn thing out of your head for all you try.
The brand buying trend in Japan and some other Asian cultures is not about getting value so much as a necessity to make a statement about a person’s place in society, and the top notch Western brand names speak volumes in that language. So naturally, everyone buys them – or it seems that way in the sea of crowds that I scrutinized – perhaps because everyone wants to belong. To conform to the norm. To be accepted as an equal.
That concept is not entirely foreign to me, I grew up in Iran where the most pretentious women on earth proudly obsess with their appearance for a lifetime. It’s true and I say it lovingly, don’t worry, it’s my own kin after all but maybe that’s my curse as I go on yearning for the stupidly expensive Prada!
How does a bag that costs more than twice the average monthly US mortgage fit into the lifestyle I am designing now? How does that integrate into my smart spending plan without exploding it altogether? Even if I chose to afford it, how in the world does this purchase even make any sense?
And suppose I buy my Prada. Will I stop lusting after the gorgeous sun glasses that go perfectly with it? What about the perfect little black dress? Or will I need to learn to redefine the meaning of pleasure altogether?
Oh I do wonder!
If you are reading this post to get to the ultimate answer, I am sorry to disappoint you today. This one is still under heavy investigation but here’s what I know in my heart of hearts:
Sometimes, our desires can get very strong very quickly, and the more changes we make in our life, the more radical these inexplicable desires.
I have been making many radical changes and eliminating many a thing along the way as I create my own lifestyle design and some days, the resistance to simplification and shifts of focus is loud and obnoxious.
I’ve always said I love materialism, and I love the fine luxuries of life, I do, but I want to enjoy them without the inner conflict. I want to break free of the desire to acquire them and yet reward myself handsomely when it feels right. Is that even possible? Is there such a thing as “balance” when you want both smart spending and $5000 bags?
The best tool I have found so far is a very simple one: It’s a question you ask yourself during a pleasant conversation you carry with yourself. You simply ask: “Is it true?”
- Is it true that I really want the Prada itself or do I just want the idea of owning Prada?
- Is it true that a Prada bag will have lasting quality over the years?
- Is it true that a Prada bag will make me look good – or better than I do now?
- Is it true that I will be happier carrying my Prada bag than my old and beat-up Coach bag or the no-name bags that came before it?
- Is it true that I will not desire another bag a month or a year later because this one is really the one to seal the deal and to satisfy the heart of my desire?
The question is so simple that you may think you are simply validating your assumptions but it’s a very powerful question, and as you keep asking, a seed starts to form that helps you go deeper. Is everything you have come to believe around this desire even true? That may not give us the ultimate answer but it moves us closer and in the process, if nothing else, we get to know ourselves better, and that goes for all of ourselves – the good, the bad and the mysterious parts.
If you know the answer to the inner conflict, and if you have reached that inner peace between your desires for luxury and simplicity, then share your thoughts in the blog comments below and help me find a solution to my Prada Dilemma!