I knew this was going to be a difficult challenge, and it has. There are moments every day where I hate this damn challenge and wonder why on earth I ever thought this was a good idea. I never really thought of myself as a car person, and I actually hate to drive, but I can't deny that I miss the convenience and freedom that my car offers.
But then there are moments like the one that happened last night while I was waiting for the subway. I was feeling very sorry for myself because my legs were killing me, and I was tired, and cranky and all I wanted to do was go home and watch TV.
And then I sneezed, and the guy sitting next to me, turned to me and said, "Bless you," in this way that was so sincere, like it wasn't just a reflex, but he really truly wanted me to be blessed. It's hard to describe to you, but it was such an honestly touching moment, and it stayed with me through my ride and walk home.
And the truth is, I am blessed. Incredibly so. I have wonderful friends and family who are supportive of me and all my nutty endeavors. I live in a world-class city with culture, diversity, good food, and perfect weather. I have a job where I work with people who like and respect me. And I have this blog, and all of you wonderful readers and commenters and fellow bloggers.
When I took on the one year non-consumerist challenge, a few people accused me of becoming an ascetic. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no desire to sit under a banyan tree and ignore my fellow man. Since August, I may have given up new stuff, but I have volunteered in my community, I have wandered museums, I have listened to some amazing local bands. I have seen great theatre, I have gotten lost in books, I have watched compelling television. I have eaten dinners with friends, and we have drunk too much wine. I have thrown parties, and attended weddings and a funeral. I have spent time outdoors, and drunk in the beauty that LA has to offer all day, every day, just outside my window. Does that look like the life of someone who is shunning worldly pleasures?
Sometimes people wonder, hell sometimes I wonder, why a year of non-consumerism? Why do I maintain this rigidity? Why am I agonizing over underwear, for God's sake. Underwear is a need! Eventually I'm going to buy some anyway, right? So what does it matter if I do it now in April, or if I do it in August?
But here's something I've learned. What I need is my family and my friends. A safe place to sleep at night. A few good books. Food. Art and music. Love. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
That's a lot. In fact it is more than many people in the world have. And yet, these things, my needs, are things I have never done without for a single day in my life. And that is why I am so blessed. Everything else? Is just gravy.
Thank you all for the past six months of blogging goodness. This community that I have found here is one that I need. But the underwear? It can wait until August.
After all, as they say:
5 months ago