Here we are on Day 83 of our Suburban Smackdown and I have to confess, somewhat reluctantly for fear of a jinx, that the enormous hurdles that we had anticipated have yet to materialize. Other than a few small obstacles posed by a (still occurring) full month of summer travel with extended family (ie: the presence of disposables items like paper towels and plastic water bottles as well as the gifting to my kiddos of a few store-bought birthday cards containing various gift cards from well-meaning-big-loving family members who just could not accept the idea of “no gifts”), we’ve not run into a big issue that has challenged the heart of our Emancipation of Consumification.
Admittedly, last week after fully ransacking the Ft. Meyers Beach condo we are in, I did have to break down and buy a needle and thread to repair a bathing suit cover up as well as a favorite stuffed sleep buddy, because a little sewing kit was one of the few necessities that I did not think to pack. My family tried to convince me that it was a survival need. I’m not so sure about that, but I did indulge in the purchase.
In other good news, my family has successfully navigated 3 of our 4 birthdays as well as both Mother’s and Father’s Day without a hitch. While we had our traditional family celebrations including dinners out and the requisite cake with candle, we went without a single material gift to open (other than the aforementioned cards above). Instead we purchased season passes to the US Whitewater Center and have spent several weekend days having crazy, active, and fear conquering fun! This fun can continue in perpetuity for a year. It wasn’t inexpensive but thus far our experiences there have been rather priceless. My boys would both tell you that it’s been way more fulfilling than a big party or a new game console. My husband and I have dubbed it our very favorite piece of Charlotte! As a mom I can say “objective achieved”!
Please know that I am not suggesting that all who buckle down and take this challenge will glide through it with the relative ease that we have, thus far, experienced. If your current pattern involves spending your weekends at a mall adding endlessly to an expanding closet or ever-indulging your kids’ endless wants, you might have a bit more of an adjustment ahead. Niki and I, obviously, were ready to be fully committed to seeing this thing though and finding a more sustainable way to “be” in this world. We are now more convinced than ever, that happiness and life satisfaction can be increased greatly while buying far far less. It just takes a willingness to slow down, take stock of what really matters, and adjust the habits that perpetuate constant and unconscious consumption.
Life feels “lighter” and brighter for me…in every way that counts. ~Amy