Friday, January 8, 2010

On Not Coveting Things

I've been thinking quite a bit about my non-consumer year lately.

As I mentioned a couple days ago
, that year changed my life. Completely. Although there are many things that have fallen by the wayside (for example I'm currently back on toilet paper) I will never shop the same way again.

I can never shop the same way again.

I'm not perfect.

I still covet things.

I'd like a new MacBook Pro. An iPhone.

But I'm also perfectly comfortable using my current computer and cell phone until they die.

And ... and this is the most cool thing to me ... I no longer covet other people's material possessions. I no longer see a friend buy a house or a car or a Kitchenaid mixer and wish I could afford those things.

I do buy things now, but when I buy now, it's almost always after genuine deliberation. I buy jeans after thinking about it for a month. A new thermos after needing one for weeks.

I have finally begun to learn the difference between wants and needs.

And of all that has come out of my non-consumerist experience, that lesson is the one I cherish the most.


Farmer's Daughter said...

I know exactly what you mean. We got a new car this week and I feel like I don't deserve it! It's so clean and new (well, used, but newer than my old '97). The salesman said the warranty is for 100,000 miles, which was "pretty much for life." I said, NOT THE WAY I HANG ON TO CARS!!! Seriously, I'm hoping to get 10 years out of this one, just like the last one.

Robj98168 said...

Life's lessons are to be learned. And thats what you did!

Charles said...

It is so easy to want something when you see it. I have a weakness when something is on sale for a great price (even though I don't need it) and thinking I should get it. So I have this practice that anytime I want something that isn't an obvious basic (food, etc). I'll write it down on a list. And if I keep going back to the list with the same idea, I get a good idea that I really want it or need it.

It's a little trick, but it's cut down on how much I buy.

welcome back to the bay area.

Green Bean said...

Very true. I didn't go to your level but have bought very few new things in the last three years. I replenished my wardrobe earlier this year and felt like it was ok. I really did need some new sweaters and hadn't had luck at thrift stores, had thought about it quite some time and so on. . . Lessons learned.

Hannah said...

Isn't it cool how habits work in the long run? Everything seems like work in the beginning when we try to break a habit or acquire a new one--but then when we have adapted to the change, it is pretty hard to fall down on the new way. So getting used to carrying reusable bags all the time might be tough, but once you are in the habit, it seems really really wrong to accept a plastic one. Etc.

(I'm like that with cloth wipes now. The idea of wiping my butt with paper now seems tawdry and a little disgusting, even though I grew up doing it.)

My really big consumer weakness? Reusable lunch boxes of all shapes and sizes...