I don’t care about stuff.

I am a person who desires little and places little value on material possessions. I purposefully avoid all designer labels with the exception of shoes (I have yet to find a decent pair of off-brand shoes).

I drive a nine-year old Subaru and am perfectly content to drive it into the ground.

My wedding band is made of stainless steel and cost less than $100.

Most of our furniture was given to us second-hand by friends.

My question: Why is this so?

How did I manage to avoid the trappings of materialism when others do not? Why do I have no desire for a luxury automobile, expensive jewelry and designer labels?

While it is hard for me to frame this question without sounding critical of those more invested in material possessions than me, this is not meant to cast judgment upon them. I simply want to know why one person derives pleasure in a diamond-encrusted watch and another does not, much the same way I wonder how one person can find broccoli so tasty while another roots for its extinction.

My wife, for example, often purchases clothing for our daughter from a local consignment shop. The clothing is clean, cute, inexpensive and often new.  But I know smart, successful, respected people who would never deign to enter a consignment shop, even if many of the items that my wife purchases have never been worn.

What causes this difference in people?

Is it the result of growing up poor and having little by way of material possessions as a child?

Could it be a character trait inherited at birth?

Was it a value instilled in me at an early age?

Is it related to my tendency to avoid conformity?

Does it have something to do with a person’s degree of self-confidence or their perceived importance of image as it relates to the rest of the world?

I want to know how this specific difference develops.

Naturally, I tend to favor the person less invested in materialistic needs, and I find that my closest friends tend to be people who have no interest in materialism. They drive second-hand cars, play golf with decade-old clubs and are never the early adopters of technologies.

But I also have perfectly intelligent, successful friends who I adore whose lives seem to be dominated with concerns over the cars they drive, the diamonds they wear, the label on their handbags and the generation of phones they carry.

How does this happen?