So now what?

We are currently having some building work done on the house and have reconfigured a couple of the bedrooms. It was fun seeing the project come together but by far the biggest buzz was from envisioning the potential of the rooms. I paced the bedroom areas and imagined where the furniture would go and therefore where the electrical sockets should be placed. It then occurred to me to move my home office into a different room. The ideas began to expand into larger and larger scenarios.

We have lived in the house for ten years now and this is the only bit of structural work we have undertaken. During those ten years we got used to the house; it was just a place to camp and leave our stuff. Now, it has become an interesting puzzle to solve once again (I remember when we first moved in it was fun deciding who and what would go where).

There is a statistic somewhere which shows that people move house on average every seven years. I can see why this is. After seven years, any novelty of a new house, location, job etc. has worn off and people subconsciously ask themselves, “So now what?” Their answer is to move house and start the process over again.

I suspect this restlessness is inculcated into us by a consumerist society. We buy the latest blu-ray player and watch television in high definition. Once the novelty has worn off and we realise that the content of television is still the same old crap, no matter how high the definition is, we return to the silent, nagging question – so now what?

This is why economic growth is vital to the consumerist model. Without it, it forces a re-evaluation of the question ’so now what?’ because implicit in the lack of economic growth is the understanding that the ‘what’ can only be less than what it used to be. If you think about it, this nagging restlessness is just like any other addictive drug; we get a high of novelty which quickly wears off and so we need another dose just to maintain a tolerance of the unsatisfactory life we have fashioned for ourselves.

Instead of asking, “So now what?”, perhaps we could ask, “So now where?” and concern ourselves with the only question worth considering – how should we live?

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