My time in Patan showed me all consumerism has to offer. Walking down any street I saw at least 2 snack shops and art stores selling sculpted metal, stone or paintings. The first few days were a wild ride of exploring shops and practicing my haggling. I explored art stores, snack shops and tea shops. I was curious to see what was out there. This feeling eventually faded away, I became bored with the shops seeing the same things. I was surrounded by historic landmarks, ancient temples and vast alleyway systems. But, all I was thinking of was where I would buy my next tea or look for a cool new thing to buy. My mind and brain became hooked to the dopamine release of buying. I didn’t know what else to do and felt lost. I was appalled that I had fallen into this habit. Then, I started to notice a shift in my mindset.
I became more excited for classes, group activities and my ISP. At first I liked it because it wasn’t shopping and I had more unique memories from it. As I began to look deeper into my captivation, I saw the value in consuming experiences and knowledge. From an outsiders eye this would be obvious, but for me I was surprised. While stone carving, I would feel in ‘the zone’ and all thoughts about my next purchase disappeared. In class I would cherish the people and our class content. Real value doesn’t come from a price tag, eventually it’s shine wears off. Real value is having experiences and learning new things. It’s all about the process, if it is a goal pursued through struggle, it will weigh more than gold.