Wednesday, June 18, 2008

living differently

* example of American waste not my home

I just have become so over-whelmed with the whole idea of too much of everything. Everything cost too much, everything takes too much time and everything goes too fast. So it's time for a fundamental shift in my perspective....which I will admit shouldn't be that difficult since I have virtually everything I could ever want. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean that this will come easy, or that I will succeed, I just want to try. Several articles have started me on this path, along with my Daughter, who told me about "freegans" last year. Freegans are people who purchase almost nothing at all, they dumpster dive and reclaim discarded items. That would be the extreme end of the spectrum for me, if I was younger maybe but I still think it would be too severe.

Another idea is the buy nothing new concept. The Compact, as written about in USA today, is a group of people who take the pledge to not buy anything new. It started out with just a few people and has spread throughout the entire world. I tried a variation on this theme. I said I wouldn't buy anything new, unless I was out of town. It worked for about four months, I didn't take the pledge seriously, but it was fun while it lasted. I have since completely refuse to buy wrapping paper. I wrap gifts using the shopping bags I have acquired and I sometimes use the handles as a decorative bow.

Perfecting the Art of Frugal Living, this is about artists over the age of 62 living in NYC on a very small budget, sometimes under 30,000. per year. I am an artist, so this was of great interest to me. I do not currently make a living from my art, however, I have sold several paintings, and would like to spend a bit more time at it. The article ends on a high note, with a comment that sounded very familiar to me,"The first thing I do when I go out of my building," she says, "I look at the sky, white clouds and a blue sky, my heart goes pitter-pat." In the last month, I told a friend of mine, that I can be happy just looking at the sky.

Here's a twist on the idea of re-using for those who are the of the 5th avenue sort,
When Conscience and Closet Collide. It struck me funny , but actually I believe this is very telling and that we may just be on the cusp of a fundamental change in our America. I am a child of Parents who lived in through the depression, they wanted us to have everything they couldn't have. We were raised as consumers. The material girl, the material generation. I am not so sure that the compulsive consumerisms that fuels our economy will continue. I see a difference in my own children who are frugal, they save, they ask for very little and sometimes buy used clothing or used video games. They even quiz me on the price of items I buy. It is as if they are saying to me, in disapproval, " that's not worth that much, you paid what?"

So that's my take for the day. I'll be letting someone else take over my part in the consumer arena. Note: I was raised as a garbage picker, or a treasure hunter, however you like to say it. To this day I still keep my eyes open on trash day, and when I find something - I feel good! It must be in my genes.

Great George Carlin Video about "stuff"


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