Though I'm ashamed to admit it, I'm guilty of all of those things, but I'm proud to admit that those days are long gone. Committing myself to getting it together, setting priorities and following through is what my life is about. This year, I'm making a commitment to changing my life, my perspective, and am determined to redefine my "norm", starting with three big steps in the right direction.
1. Buy less. I am an ex-shopaholic. I loved to buy stuff. Any stuff. I thrived in the fluorescent din of the mall, loved the smell of new. It is a sickness, seriously. I've been guilty of loving some brand new article of clothing, washing it, wearing it, and not liking the way it looked without that freshness of new...and never wearing it again. After nearly two years of choosing to buy less (and I mean next to nothing), I find that I don't have the same relationship with 'stuff' as I used to. I simply don't need it like I used to. I don't need much of anything, actually. Forcing myself to get creative with what I already own, repurposing, getting crafty with the sewing machine...all of these things have helped me rid me of the insatiable need for new.
2. Buy consciously. Part of the growing process of becoming a conscious consumer is to take ownership of the purchasing process. When I do buy things, I try to do so with eyes wide open. Look at where the items you make are coming from. More often than not, they come from Asia. Any idea how it's produced? By whom? Of what is it made? What kind of carbon footprint did it make just to be imported? I'm not saying that buying items produced overseas is a horrible thing (though is sure as hell isn't doing much for our own economy.) All I am saying is that we all need to take ownership of every purchasing choice and commit to learning the true cost of the products we buy. That level of awareness is vital to our future. Ignorance is not bliss.
3. Buy wisely. With resources like Etsy at our fingertips, there's no excuse to not buy and support independent designers, crafters, and handmade artisans. Whether you're looking for natural baby rattles, earth-friendly clothing, reusable dish scrubbies, or organic handmade soaps, take the time to look for a handmade, small -scale, and preferably local source. It's a win-win for us all.
I hope you'll consider the impact your purchasing decisions have in both the short- and long-term. If you aren't doing these three things, why not? What barriers or obstacles do you feel are preventing you from making these changes?