Working out on the ‘Hedonic treadmill’

When too much is, well, too much

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist,

I don’t want to mix fashion with religion….(although, I do consider a vintage quilted Chanel bag the “Holy Grail” and I won’t deny it.)

However, I feel that my soul needs cleansing and I’ve decided that you, my friends, will serve to be my “confessional” of sorts.

I have too much stuff.

I really, really do. Like SO much stuff that it’s embarrassing.

My father (who is a psychologist, let’s not forget the irony in THAT) often talks about the concept of the “hedonic treadmill.” Have you heard of this?

Well, the basic premise, as Wikipedia defines it, is: “the tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite changes in fortune or achievement of major goals.”

For example, when you buy something you get a pleasant surge of “happiness”; however, that feeling is fleeting and one quickly reverts back to their own “happiness set point.” In order to compensate for the downgrade in euphoria, they buy more and more and bigger and bigger.

Guess what?

I can run a MARATHON on my hedonic treadmill.  I can do sprints, add an incline….hell, I can walk backwards on that thing.

I’m like Forrest Gump. Trust me.

For those of you who don’t know, I am boring. I barely drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t eat red meat. I work-out like a maniac. I clean my own house. I have at least three jobs going at one time.



Here’s the ugly:

I own 30 pairs of BLUE jeans (after giving many, many away to Goodwill).  I am not counting my white or black jeans (of which there are multiples).

I have enough boots that I could wear each pair twice in a winter season.

I have 29 belts. But, they are in a rainbow of colors. Because, if they were all brown or black, that would be CR-AZY.

I have 25 “summer” dresses. This is not to be confused with my abnormally large amount of fall/winter dresses.

I have approximately 40 handbags.

I only have (and will ever have) 1 husband….(hopefully, after he reads this article)

Here’s the truth:

I don’t buy things just because it makes me happy in that moment. I continue to be happy loooong after I buy them. I laugh in the face of the hedonic treadmill. I J’ADORE all of my purchases….I just continue to find more things that I like.

We all have our crosses to bear and my good taste is my burden.

The problem is that there are only so many days in a year. SO, I am on a mission to purge those items in my closet that I have not worn in the past six months.  I have separated them into piles labeled: Keep, Donate & Trash.

I plan on keeping the classics because they never go out of style. And, I must keep things that have sentimental value…right? However, I do embrace the fact that I do not need 10 pairs of skinny jeans when I usually only wear 2 or 3 of them.

All of this empty closet space!!!! Yipppppeeee!

Who’s driving to the Philly outlets??

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  1. Turk182 says:

    No (OK, little) drinking. No red meat? I think we need to see the other side of the fashion opinion range.

    I’m sure McGann can find a cigar-smoking, red-meat eating, Jack-drinking, leather-wearing biker, um, lady to give us her side of things. Maybe a report from Sturgis or something.

    Just to be fair, right? 🙂

  2. Mark Lydon says:

    Just don’t throw away that sharp wit and personality. Also, are you telling me to throw away my bleach faded levi’s from 1992, just because I can’t fit in them anymore.


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