“I’m off. And I’m not buying anything.
So far this week, it has been interesting to reflect on what it means to buy nothing. Aside from the daily tangibles, the things I willingly hand over my debit card for, I’ve been thinking about my indirect use of things, namely resources. No, I am not signing a check this week for my water consumption. And I’m not looking in the couch cushions looking for quarters to pay the city that provides garbage service in the park next to my house. But what parts of my existence really are free of charge? I’d like to think my time is free, and with the impetus to buy nothing, particularly during a time of year when we are collectively encouraged to provide thoughtful and shiny things for our friends and loved ones, it is already apparent I have a lot more of it.
By spending some of this extra time over the past weekend to prepare my food for the week, I’ve had more opportunities to spend time with people in my St. John’s community, and I’ve been less tempted to wander into the local taqueria for a quick and cheap fix to my hunger pangs. I’ve been telling a friend since July that I’d give him a guitar lesson. Last night it happened. Tonight I plan on delivering a cord of wood to another neighbor for his winter stove, regardless if there is a hockey game on the internet. For the rest of the week, I plan on working the game clock for the local community center basketball league, writing a letter to my representatives (and maybe to the editor?) to tell them what I think about health care reform, and wrapping my holiday gifts of dried, edible mushrooms I picked this season for distant family.
For me, I expect this challenge week will become more about giving than going without. By buying nothing, I’m looking forward to more time to spread the love.
And speaking of letters to the editor…check out this Jared Diamond article from last week’s New York Times, ‘How Green is That Big Company? The New York Times, Letters December 12, 2009,’ and subsequent reader response. I believe both offer thoughtful reflections on our collective responsibilities as consumers, producers, activists, human beings, etc.”