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Saturday, May 29, 2010


Affluenza was a term that I first heard as an undergraduate student at Marshall University. It was in an introduction to leisure services course that I had taken with Dr. Raymond Busbee (an authority on recreation and leisure services).

Affluenza is a term with several meanings. I describe it as a person who buys a lot of stuff that is often unneeded.

John de Graaf defines affluenza in his book with the same title as “ a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

Affluenza may remind you of the saying, “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Money doesn’t always buy happiness. There are people who are very wealthy who spend and spend yet they don’t feel happy. Some people who are wealthy are said to experience guilt from spending and that they have a sense of no purpose according to Wikipedia.

I am not in the wealthy/ leisure class. As you already know, I work in the human services field. It is not a get-rich profession, but it does come with personal gratification and internal rewards.

I feel happy to have my career and my income. I feel happy and satisfied.

I spent a lot more this weekend than I have in a long time. I don’t know what got into me. I didn’t go into debt or anything, but I just spent a lot of money. I don’t necessary feel happier. I feel a little guilty. I tell myself that it is okay to splurge from time to time.

Within the last week, I’ve purchased:

Two Stephen King Graphic novels
Four DVDs from a movie gallery that was going out of business. They were discounted.
George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” which I plan to read to children at work
Downloaded two electronic books on my kindle.
Purchased a DVD container and plastic CD sleeves.

I usually buy one book or CD a week. This was really out there.

I was reminded of affluenza because I was getting rid of all the plastic containers that the DVDs were held in. In order to save space, I thought it would be better to get rid of the DVD case. I felt like I may be experiencing affluenza because I’m buying things and throwing away things to make room.

What are your thoughts on affluenza?

I think you might be interested in reading De Gaff's book...

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