Getting a new mindset takes practice. And discipline, which has never been my strong suit. Since the calendar is silent today, I am taking this opportunity for an update on “How is that year of not buying anything new going?” And I’m realizing that a mind is a terrible thing to get stuck.
The other day, I could not find my pedometer. My first thought? Well, I can always buy a new one; they’re not too expensive. My next thought–oops. No, I can’t. Rewind. Try again. Isn’t that the way so much of our immediate gratification American mind works? I don’t have what I need/want. (Usually it’s the latter. Do I need a pedometer?) But the nearest store is only . . . well, it’s at my fingertips as I type this, because I bought my last two pedometers online. And I can buy anything I desire there again, pretty much, and probably at the one-stop super virtual store, Amazon. With one-click shopping.
But when I can’t . . . I don’t know what to do. Let’s face it, most of us raised post-1950 and up really don’t know what to do if we can’t just buy our way out of a situation. No, I don’t mean like a parking ticket situation; I mean like a “what am I going to wear to my next speaking engagement?” or “what is my child going to do to replace her torn school folder?” situation. I had not truly realized, because I had not experienced, how much the American mind has to do a complete rewire when “buying stuff” is not an option. Yes, I’ve seen it, as on our mission trip to China, but I’ve never felt it. And that, my friends, is an entirely different level. Not a bad one to be on, from where I’m standing right now.
Second, I have discovered a great freedom. When I go into a store, I know I don’t even have to waste any time perusing the clothes racks, or household appliances, or electronics. I head for the food or toiletries, and that’s it. If I’m in a shopping center, or passing by a store that I may have gone in “just to look” previously, I can stroll right by anyplace that doesn’t have lettuce or laundry detergent as one of its main ingredients.
Have you any idea how freeing that is? I never knew. There is absolutely no pressure from others, or curiosity from me, to stop and spend an idle fifteen minutes that turns into a “wow, where did that hour go?” I am completely free to reach only the objective for which I started out and go home to spend my time with things I truly do enjoy more. Like scrubbing toilets. Well, maybe not. But things like talking to my kids rather than running errands with them. Brainstorming with them how to replace a lost wallet and then making one together. We did that when they were little and we were poor. But now? Not so much.
So thus far? Harder than I thought. Better than I thought. Both good things. And by the way, my child repaired her folder with multi-colored duct tape. She now has the coolest folder in class.