Novelty is the reason so many people have so much stuff and spend so much money and want even more. Well, I know that I already have the new I-Pod, but they just put out another newer one, with a touchscreen, and 50 GB with video last week. It only costs $500. I just bought new shoes yesterday, but that girl over there has these awesome-looking pumps that I think I have to have for... $200.
We like new stuff--that's not news. But is it because it's new, or is it actually an improvement on what we now have? In some cases, we do need an update on something. The stereo only brings in the radio if you stand really close to it? It might be time for a new one. Or at least a new antenna. The jeans you're wearing have holes in them and so many patches you can't even tell where the original fabric is? You may want to invest in a new pair.
However, it's not these cases that are the issue. It's the cases where you have something that's perfectly good, works fine, serves its purpose, you still enjoy using/wearing it, but the new one just came out, or a cooler looking one just came out, and even though it's way out of your budget, and completely unreasonable to spend that kind of money on it, something inside you tells you that you want it--not only want it, but have to have it. You may even feel like you can't live without it--it's just so much more convenient and user-friendly and better than what you have now.
I'm guilty of this "grass is greener" mentality as much as the next person. I constantly want what the person next to me ordered, to the point that I mooch off their plate all night. I have bought clothes that I didn't absolutely need for the reason that they were trendier or prettier-looking than something I already had. It's always a frustrating boat to be in, not having something you want, or worse, not being able to afford something you really want. I know how lucky I am to be where I am in this world and have what I have. Some of it I've earned, some of it I've received due to the generosity of others, or with the help of others, but I am grateful for what I have. It's just that sometimes, I do want the new shoes, or that incredible-looking steak on my dinner companion's plate.
Perhaps it's biology, or evolution, to want what we can't have. It keeps us working hard, doing more, trying to have more, trying to make ourselves cooler, sexier, more attractive, interesting, intelligent--even if it's only in appearance, and not in actuality. [Digression: Appearance actually seems to play quite a large role in evolution and adaptation from what I understand--though I'm no scientist.]
While the reason for wanting what we can't have may remain a mystery, with only speculation available as some kind of answer to it, at the very least, if we can recognize that we want something for its novelty rather than its necessity, perhaps we can scale that impulse back a little bit. Learn to do without. It probably won't happen, but awareness is the first step on the path to change.
You can't always get what you want. [The Rolling Stones]