And so begin many of my recent conversations. Conversations where people have asked me if I’m visiting the sales, if I’m planning to buy anything soon, if I’ve saved enough up to blow it all in the first few days of the tentative New Year. It’s surprising how much of our everyday conversation revolves around buying. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before. I suppose removing yourself from the buying cycle gives you a different perspective from which to to view our words.
The thing is, which surprises me, is that people…well, they just don’t get it. And not in the way that they disagree, oh no. They actually seem to have difficulty comprehending it. In our western world, not buying stuff does not compute.
And so what usually happens is I try to explain, then begin to falter at the blank looks, the raised eyebrows, the vacant stare showing the barriers are up and this is something strange, unknown…something odd. If I’m lucky, someone will take an interest but confidently assure me it’s impossible. When I mention I’ve done it before and loved it, there’s just one universal response..”oh…right” and the person backs off, running back to a world where people buy things like clothes and shoes and cd’s and perfumes and everything is all okay and normal again.
I’ve realised that yes, this is personal and exciting to me. But, just like minimalism, it’s a personal quest. Truthfully, in our society, it is a bit odd not to buy stuff.
And so, if someone asks, I’ll gladly talk to them about it. I’ll point them to blogs that inspire me, people to follow, ideas to think about. I’ll get their ideas on living a lower impact life. And online, I’ll continue to engage with and be inspired by like-minded people, following their journeys, reading their words, trying their ideas.
Instead of explaining to people who don’t really care, I’m excited to meet people who are on the same journey of minimalism, of simplicity, or consuming less for a more meaningful life. And I’m interested to see if people really notice that I’m not buying. It’ll be exciting to see if it’s really possible to buy nothing and still live day to day without ‘normal consumers’ noticing. To beg the question, do we really need to buy more stuff to fit in?
Has the socially driven idea of ‘fitting in’ got more leeway than I thought? I guess there’s no better way to find out than next year…