Monday, July 28, 2008

The five things I've bought since Mexico

When we got back from Mexico at the beginning of June, I was all shopped out. I was overwhelmed by possessions after being on retreat and living out of a suitcase for a couple of weeks. Plus, I felt like I'd spent a lot of money on the vacation and it was time to reel things in. I declared a total moratorium on shopping through the end of the month. That's through the end of June, just a couple of weeks.

The interesting thing is that once I got out of the habit of buying stuff, it's gotten harder and harder to spend money on stuff. Just not that into it.

Since we got back, I've bought all of 5 things. This may not interest anyone but me, but I think it's fascinating that I can actually count them. Before this hiatus on the spendies, I couldn't count the number of times I cracked my wallet and purchased more stuff.

For the record, here're my five things:

1. replacement brushes for the robot-vacuum. Love the Roomba!
2. the SodaClub soda maker.
3. a new stainless steel water bottle, from a Canadian company, cool shape.
4. two magazines, InStyle and Yoga Journal (counting these two as one item).
5. a pair of yoga pants.

I could tell a story about each one of them, but will confine myself to two. The soda maker RULES, since now I'm not buying imported bubbly water in glass bottles (ridiculous to ship water from Italy) and can have bubbly water from the tap. Genius! The yoga pants I felt I had to buy since my stupid new stainless steel bottle (#3 above, not so crazy about it now) leaked all over the pants I'd brought to wear to yoga. Seriously, those wet pants were ridiculous.

So two thoughts I'm having about all this. Shopping -- the endless hunt for new stuff -- is a self-reinforcing habit. When you stop doing it, the taste for it fades. Maybe that's what it's like to give up sugar (I am so not going there). Thought #2 is that for years, we didn't have anything, no money, no ease, no basics. So for the past couple of years, now that we have some money & ease, I've been responding to the lack of scarcity by accumulating stuff. And now that I've been at the accumulation for a couple of years, woah, I feel oppressed by it and need to stop. But damn it if it isn't whole lot easier to stop buying stuff when you suddenly realize that you have everything.

It's not as though I've become ascetic in any way. We have seen plenty of movies and eaten delicious food in restaurants on many occasions since the End of Shopping As I Knew It began. But what I love about those expenditures is that they're just experiences, not things. They are just time and taste buds and the company of friends. So much more satisfying than a bunch of new stuff.

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