Saturday, May 15, 2010

Items Versus Experiences

I am an accumulator. I am a person who accumulates many things. Books, wearables, craft supplies, and toys (seriously - more dolls, stuffed animals, and figurines than is sane) all find their way into my possession on an absurdly frequent basis.

Well, not anymore they don't. I decided to put my foot down. I have a list of things I want to do in my life, you see, and most of the things on the list are purely experience - and rather expensive. Visit Sweden? Go shopping in London? Pet tigers at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua? I realized I can't keep spending money on stuff, things that will take up space and make it harder to afford to travel. Therefore, I adopted a New Point of View: stop buying stuff that is not necessary. "Necessary" means a pair of sneakers when I have none, not a pair of strappy black shoes because my other fancy shoes don't quite match the dress I want to wear. This way, I could save my money to spend on experiences, or to spend when I catch lunch with a friend, or to save for the future. Much better uses of my money, and my time and sanity (my brain blows a fuse every time I have to allocate space for more books or shoes).

Last weekend I went to a rummage sale, thinking I might find some unique charms to reuse in jewelry for my Etsy. Since I was armed with my New Point of View, I was sure I would buy nothing extraneous.

I came home with two Lord of the Rings books, four Anne McCaffrey books, and fifteen Isaac Asimov books.

It's a process.


ThisisKim said...

It's funny you wrote about this because I have been reading a book called Affluenza about society's obsession with materialism and how it is ruining us. One of the big things I started doing recently is only buying things I absolutely needed. What's the likelihood you would be doing the same thing!?! It's nice to not get caught up in shopping and go do more enriching things with life!

Mande said...

I would venture to call a book an experience! Though I suppose one still doesn't need to own them. But how I love them so!

I have oodles of dinosaur figurines. They've almost reached critical mass. Easy for me to justify as I get many more kicks out of toys than say, going to the theater.

Rae Botsford said...

Kim: That is an awesome coincidence! I think the economy of the last couple years has got people thinking about value and long-lasting-ness, far more than we used to. It's definitely a good thing. I'll have to check that book out some time, too. One thing I've recently discovered is that folks from the old days knew how to party...have you ever played jacks or marbles?? It's awesome! I'm telling you.

Mande: I must agree with you there; some books are experiences. Yet, if I'm reading, I'm not having experiences of my own, so I have to be careful to balance that. One can borrow from friends or libraries, though there is much delight in owning books too! And if I had an e-reader, I'd be able to keep a libraryful without taking much space at all. Hm.. And I can't help but think that dinosaur figurines are a worthy use of space. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"