Written by a tcg’er – Not Clare.
Lately I have been having dreams about living a life of simplicity, and packing it all in and living in a R.V. with my husband and two kids. When I wake up, reality hits me: I am single and sharing a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Almost every day, it seems, I read an article about people “cutting down” on their lifestyles (mostly out of economic necessity). And then there are the articles about those who quit their high-paying corporate jobs to start an organic farm. You know the articles: Young, fresh-faced couples dressed in clean overalls. It has become ‘cool’ to adopt a hippie lifestyle.
As I read about the lives of those who have been blessed with abundance giving away their many possessions, my inner cynicism rears its ugly head. But what gives me the right to be judgmental? Any attempt to be more conscious of our environmental impact is a step in a positive direction.
In an attempt to simplify my own life, I have been trying out a kind of Sabbath day. It is a day when I attempt not to buy anything. For the past several weeks, that day has been Sunday. I got the idea after reading Michael Pollan’s New York Times Magazine article, Why Bother?
The first Sunday I paid $10 for a dance class and I justified that was ok, as it was not a consumer good. And then came the invitation to lunch afterwards, which I could not turn down as the sun was shining in San Francisco. After a sandwich and coffee ($11.45), I bicycled home and shut the door feeling guilty. Then came the invitation to a friend’s to dinner. I couldn’t show up empty handed, so I bought some wine ($12.99). I was bummed by the time I reached my friend’s door. The only Sunday I truly fulfilled my money-free Sabbath was the Sunday I threw out my back. It took being totally incapacitated for me not to spend a dime. It was a good life step.
Although the days are rare when I do not purchase anything, I have become more of a critical consumer. Thinking twice before I buy. Asking questions like, ‘do I really need this?’ Often the answer is no. I recognize desire plays more of a role than necessity. What gives me hope is that more people with means (at varying levels) are becoming more aware of how their consumer habits impact the environment. Whatever the reasons behind the trend towards simplicity (out of virtuousness or necessity), the point is that more and more of us are raising our consciousness and making changes. We want to live a life that suits us.
For an interesting and informative look at consumption habits, check out: http://www.storyofstuff.com/