I was traveling recently and found I needed a crochet hook to finish what I was doing. First I asked the people I was visiting if they had one. No, but they were sure I could buy one at Walmart. I very politely declined and tried looking at a few thrift stores. I didnt find what I wanted, but since I was looking for one at a thrift store, the assumption was that I didnt want to pay much for the crochet hook. With much concern for me, my companions assured me that it wouldnt cost very much at Walmart. I continued to decline their kind and often repeated offers to take me to Walmart. I asked if they knew anyone who crocheted who might be willing to loan me a crochet hook that I would gladly mail back to them. No, but there is Walmart. When I explained that I didnt shop at Walmart, then there was Fred Meyers. . .
For those of you who dont know me, my family and I have sworn off new stuff for the most part. We still buy a few things like shoes for our son, underwear, socks and other small items when they come up and cant be avoided. I did try and explain this at various points but it seemed like we were speaking different languages. My explanations didnt match up with the accepted pattern of life so they sort of slid off the people around me. Environmentalism tends to focus on what we should be doing but in my experience more than half of it is about what we shouldnt be doing.
So what if I had bought it? So what? One more piece of plastic headed for the landfill. One more redundant piece of crap cluttering up my crafting space. One more thing to clear out of the way when we move. One bit more pollution in the world. One more drop of oil brought up from the earth. One more bit of CO2 in the air. One more worker sick on factory fumes. One more dollar leaves America for over seas. One more underpaid Walmart employee who cant afford to live. One more tax dollar paid to the Walmart employee so they can. One more reason to get a storage unit. One more square of earth gets paved over. One more bit of packaging to throw in the garbage. One less dollar in my pocket. If you think about it, life is made up of little decisions that form larger patterns.
So what do I want you to get out of this? I guess I want you to know its ok to say no. If you can turn down a date or say no to drugs, then you can say no to consumerism. People might think you are a little strange, but its going to be ok. As it turns out, I didnt actually get far enough to need the crochet hook so it all turned out for the best. To me, thats sort of the definition of a well lived life. Doing things in a way that generally turns out for the best.