Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trinkets: The Rant

Vacation is over, at least for the time being. Four days are not really long enough to forget the stresses of daily life, but better than nothing. If you go to a tourist spot, though, four days are surely sufficient to contemplate how many ways people have to sell you what you don't want. From billboards to promises of free money if you will just come see a timeshare, one is constantly enticed by glittering junk.

What is behind the urge to acquire still more things? Is it the desire to display our wealth by having more toys than our friends? Will having more stuff make us feel more secure? Yes, T-shirts with cute sayings may catch our eye, but would we really wear them enough to justify their purchase? (And will the messages written across our chests be so embarrassing that we won't wear them outside our houses?) Our refrigerators can only sport just so many magnets, and our present keychains are working fine, thank you. We'd like to think that we can join the jet-setters who own more than one house, but the house we have takes up most of our time and a goodly portion of our salary. We certainly don't need more, and much of the time we don't even want it after we have it.

This tendency to accumulate material possessions has led to a veritable explosion of storage businesses, so we can stash what we have bought but cannot accommodate in our houses. After 50+ years of living, I have come to the realization that unused items create clutter--both in our houses and in our minds. I am no longer feeling guilty about not supporting the American economy if I don't buy something. I've resolved only to buy things I like and will use. Maybe then my kids won't have to sort through the detritus of stuff I've left behind to find the meaningful.

Here's to letting go of the trivial--or not buying it in the first place.

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