Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Opting Out of Consumerism

A box full of homebrews
I love makeshift solutions. I love the ways in which people improvise solutions for the problems at hand. I often avoid the easy consumer solutions, which are so easily obtained here where we have access to nearly everything imaginable. If we can't find it in the store then we can certainly order it online. We can purchase specialized products for nearly every situation. But the key word there is "purchase". Because we have limited funds, when we purchase one thing that naturally means that we won't be able to purchase something else. And what if that "something else" is actually more important to us? We often don't even realize the trade-offs we make every day with our dollars. We buy goods we don't really need but then tell ourselves we don't have the money to pursue our t­ravel dreams, our hobbies, or our true passions in life. We do not spend according to our true priorities. This is something I am struggling to change in my own life and I know other people are, too. 

Roasted carrots harvested from our backyard garden
One way to free up money for our dreams, our priorities, is to stop spending so much. One way we can do that is to stop looking for easy consumer solutions and start solving more of our problems with materials we have at hand. To do this on a regular basis requires a mental shift for most of us. It requires us to be resourceful, "able to meet situations: capable of devising ways and means". We don't often need someone else to solve our problems for us. We can do it ourselves with a little bit of thought and some creativity. Indeed, the definition of "shift" is "to assume responsibility" and to "change direction". We may live in a very consumption-oriented society but we do not have to live high-consumer lives. We just don't. We can opt out. And when we opt out of the crazy consumerism we are opting *in* to resourcefulness, greater self-sufficiency, more personal responsibility, tighter community ties, and (I believe) a greater satisfaction with our lives.

So let's make use of what we have and not worry about what we don't. Let's look for homemade solutions. Makeshift solutions. Let's devise ways and means! 

Mr. Chanclas doing Crossfit in the yard with scavenged weights


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