During the Xmas holidays, I woke up in the middle of the night and was so angry. I have too much of everything except for a few “things”, I really need. I tried being grateful. I have a hard time being grateful about the excess and am not even rich or wasteful. It’s just so unfair. I am also not cheap or exploit people. I have done so in the past by buying cheap and unnecessary stuff, but as I realised that I literally have all the stuff I could ever need and more, I quit that game. I am still angry – angry at myself – angry at the world.
Think about that:
I came to realize that I literally have all the stuff I could ever need and more.
I think at this point the clothes I have will last for 15? 20? years until I might have to buy another pair of pants. Fashion will not be a thing I’ll care about ever again, but I can still rock one hell of an individual style by patching my clothes in bright colours and fancy stitches.
We own the house where we live, and we have a holiday home ruin to renovate over the years which we will “rent” out for free to families who can’t afford it. In the long run, we might move there as we plan to make it super sustainable. We’ll see.
Then there’s everyday stuff. Cuttlery, plates, pans, chairs, couches, bedsheets, … it’s all there. In abundance. It’s not hip, but I do not sleep any less well in the bedsheets with the funky 90ies print and the baby blue blanket that my parents got for their wedding.
So that’s shelter, clothing and stuff. We still need food every day, and we grow a little in the garden, we forage some, and we preserve, but that’s far away from sustainable, but it’s a start.
Food. How many years did I spend slightly overweight and struggling? I tried all kinds of diets and workouts, and what did finally make me lose weight and stay there? Being mindful of how much I actually need. Stopping when I am full. Reading my body’s signs of what it needs and how much of it. That’s all.
Take what you really need.
The Buddha recommends only to eat once a day.
Yes, I am grateful that I could pig out over Christmas, I loved baking the cookies and eating them, and I am so overstimulated and looking forward to some simple cabbage. On the 24th we had the leftover Brussel sprouts from the day before – with rice – the simple way so tasty and delightful.
A visitor once implied that our kitchen could be replaced. It’s not trendy, hip or anything. Like a lot of our stuff, it’s 90ies, and it cooks well. Unless something breaks, we’ll stick to it. We also made a “vow” not to buy new things but repair, build or buy second hand if possible.
The whole concept to replace something that is working well with the same thing because the newer version is somehow regarded as more fashionable is so sick, and I realize that I have been part of that delusion. It’s strong and present and addictive and makes no sense at all but to fuel a sick machine.
I realize I am super privileged and therefore, part of my work is to realize, understand, question and dismantle it. Part of that is the “fix everything” look. Now, this look with the patches might become the new cool because essentially it shows that I do have the time and privilege to be an eco snob. Like it first was a sign of wealth in Europe to stay pale as it meant you weren’t working in the fields and then being tanned was the luxury look as it showed you were able to go on holidays and play tennis instead of sitting in the office. So we might already be part of something where what I do become sucked in by capitalism. Now I need to find ways to consume less and be content with what I have, which is like a burden lifted and uplift people who have less. For example, I donated a full months salary this year. That’s great, and I can do more. If I don’t do that 2nd part uplifting, caring, supporting, it’s useless. It’s just another sort of trend.
I admit that when we bought the ruin (45.000€ – everything I had ever managed to save), I felt the grip of capitalism. In a way, it’s a personal defeat because a part of me tells me that I should have donated the money instead. That’s why we want to make it available for others and share it.
This is a strange post, but as it’s my blog, I have no obligation to produce quality content and make notes for myself to hold myself accountable AND document my learning and evolving process. :-*