Choice: No New Umbrella
We’re hosting a birthday party for Ax and it sure would be nice to have a new sun umbrella for it but frankly I don’t want to spend the money, and I don’t want to buy new stuff that is future landfill. So the old umbrellas we have will have to do.
The other thing I’ve been doing is hosting a weekly gather that requires a lot of coffee which I’ve been putting in coffee carafes that have been borrowed from a few different sources. I’ve decided I’m not getting new matching coffee carafes, even though I want them. I want to save money for other stuff and save the planet more than I want matching coffee carafes. So the non-matching carafes and old yet functional umbrellas are symbols of holding true to what really matters to me.
It’s a dark, insecure time on the planet, in this country, with many important causes to support and I don’t want to buy stuff.
I want to be able to help people in need and help my family. I want to live and enjoy being free and being with people I love. New stuff isn’t required. We have enough, more than enough, stuff.
It’s my ego, my false self, that wants our house to look closer to the catalog type home with things sparkling clean and matching and perfect. But my truer self has different values from appearances — I’m not bleaching because bleach is pollution, so my whites aren’t super-white. I’m doing with what I have, which means when I host for a crowd we use non-matching bowls and plates and cloth napkins and everything a jumble. And we don’t use disposable stuff. Period. Though we do use toilet paper and I do have a roll of paper towels hidden in the laundry area for truly disgusting/overwhelming duties. But otherwise it’s dishtowels.
And minimizing buying produce and other stuff packaged in plastic, maximizing farmers market buys. It just feels better, tastes better, is better. For me.
Except for those moments when it doesn’t feel better. When I lust for a big gas-guzzler instead of my elderly Prius or - yes - a giant disposable set of lego-themed birthday party dishes.
But those moments pass. The bigger luxury than head-in-sand consumption is knowing I’m doing what I can to be less part of the problem. And it’s not extreme, for me. It’s doable. We have cars, we have a refrigerator, we have (lots of) legos. But we have choice, and I’m making choices. I’m gonna keep going.