I’m old. I have all the stuff I’ll ever need. Right now. Clothes? They last a long time, and old is new again sooner or later. Cars, appliances, computers, phones? Replace if necessary (ie. terminal breakdown). Gazillion channel tv? I’ve already discussed that.(See archive August 2016– DON’T. WATCH.TELEVISION). Furniture? Got it covered. And covered again, for that matter.
What, exactly, do I NEED to spend money on? Electricity is good. Food is good, especially if I can find fresh, local stuff and skip the expensive chemical kinds. Clean water is good, and most of us can get it out of the tap instead of plastic bottles. Travel is good, according to me, and buying a plane, train, or automobile trip to someplace beautiful or historic or related to family can definitely be worth the price. Giving is good, and the holiday season presents me with an avalanche of opportunity–but that’s not the same as “buying stuff” for my own consumption, is it? Personal satisfaction, yes. A few bucks can buy that.
I’m cultivating the art of ignoring advertisements. That’s difficult when every newsfeed on screen or paper includes colorful interruptions insisting that I need something I never heard of before. Truth be told, I’m resistant to purchasing an app, let alone a new car, for fear I’ll never figure out how it operates. Like I said. I’m old. But the allure of advertising is wasted on me.
In the further confessions of a junior curmudgeon, I don’t shop for fun. I never did. If I want something, I go get it. I don’t wander around looking for something to want. Even on the internet. Doesn’t shopping make your head explode?
Because I have an abundance of worldly goods already, I claim no virtue in the overall decision to stop buying stuff. However, I see the refusal to “buy into” the cultural persuasion that more is better, new is better, bigger is better as akin to voting. Yes, voting and backing out of consumerism: those are two powers I can claim against the Forces of Evil. I wish there were a clearer way of transferring the surplus of my household (and the whole country) to the suffering multitudes near and far. Meanwhile, I’ll give my votes and my resources to the best ideas I can find.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
The clever nest has shaken from the tree
to land here on the sidewalk at my feet,
as winter clears away last year’s debris
and sweeps its brown detritus down the street.
So much depends on something letting go,
a loosening of ties, a stripping clean,
a useful emptiness by which I know
of singing birds that I have never seen.
Published in Mezzo Cammin (online journal)