Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Consciously Rejecting the "Get More Stuff" Mentality

Get more. Get more. Get more.

This is the message that we are bombarded with every day. There is always something new, something fresh, something "revolutionary" to get. It never ends. It doesn't slow down. The push for more seems to intensify every day.

I found a mini-documentary of YouTube called The Story of Stuff (this is a link to the playlist I made of all 6 parts of the piece). The were two things that struck me the most and that I completely agree with.

1. Planned and Perceived Obsoleteness
In 2005, just before Z1 was born, we bought a digital camera. It was a good buy we thought. We had countless rolls of undeveloped film. We really couldn't even say what was on these rolls of film and we certainly didn't want to pay money to develop them and end up with pictures of random blobs, shadows and white flashes. So we bought a re-furbished Kodak 5MP camera. It's 2008. Our camera is pretty much obsolete technologically speaking because currently you can get a 7 or 8 MP camera that does way more nifty things for much less than what we paid for ours. I mean, that's cool but I'm not a photographer. I just need a camera to pictorially document and keep track of my life. Just because the technology has improved so drastically doesn't mean I need to run out and get a new camera. Except for the fact that now, after owning my camera for 3 years, it has started to act funny. Buttons don't always work. Transferring pictures to the computer requires me holding the USB cable firmly in place. The program the camera works with usually encounters errors. This is planned obsoleteness. The camera is fat. It is bulky and doofy looking compared to newer cameras. I don't have the option of charging i it and it eats batteries and has a small viewing window and very little picture taking options. This would be perceived obsoleteness. Without consciously rejecting the "Get More Stuff" mentality, I would be in the market for a new camera. But the camera works. And I'm going to rock it till the wheels fall off. Happy to hold USB cables firmly in place. ;)

2. Tying up one's self worth in stuff
I think this is the biggest issue we face living in our society. The more stuff you have, the more worthwhile you are. And it's not just about having "stuff". The "stuff" must be the newest funky freshness available. It's not just sneakers anymore. The media feeds you the line that you just have to keep up. How will you look if you don't have the latest, greatest thing? Because so many people tie up their self worth and rest their identity in what they have and what they get, it's crucial to keep on getting. It makes people feel better, feel like they are worth more because deep inside, it's a nagging question we all need an answer to. What am I worth?? Am I worth anything at all? When you know your worth, you don't need to prove it. Consciously rejecting the "Get More Stuff" mentality is an affirmation of the knowledge of your self-worth as well as a revolutionary mindset that puts you squarely outside of the general way of thinking and being. You learn how to make what you have work. You learn to let go of things to clear your space and mind. You determine your needs and become very clear about them. When you do buy things, you don't buy on impulse. You research. You meditate. You *think*. Because you know you won't be buying again any time soon. You buy quality. You buy things you can use and re-use. You eschew the idea of "disposable" because you realize that nothing is actually disposable.

Hmmm . . . just my thoughts and ramblings for today. I'll be taking a trip to the thrift store to donate so more stuff. I'll be looking around in the thrift store because I love to. I won't be buying anything though (unless they happen to have an Omega 8005 juicer!). :) Actually, I could use some short sleeve blouses . . . still waiting on this baby weight to drop off. LoL.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's a Sh*tty Job (Literally!) but someone's got to do it . . .

Teaching Z1 to use the toilet, that is. I'm doing it cold turkey, folks. He's going COMMANDO. I started last Friday. Three days into it and he doesn't seem any closer to grasping the concept. We've had plenty of misses, ya'll. I mean, plenty of misses. Misses of all kinds, if you catch my drift. Misses he's actually stepped in. Misses that make me wonder if I know what the hell I'm doing. But I would rather keep taking him to the toilet every 30 mins. and cleaning up misses than change any more "grown man poop" diapers. I am holding on to the hope that in 2 to 3 weeks, he will have mastered using the toilet. I'm bribing--I mean, giving incentives with Spiderman briefs, ya'll. "Hey Z1, if you use the toilet, you get to wear these!" How desperate do I sound?

Once Z1 has learned to use the toilet, I'm going to start natural infant hygiene (elimination communication or EC) with Z2. No way on God's green earth will Z2 be in diapers till he's almost three. You know, I believe EC is the most eco-friendly and baby-friendly way of dealing with what is a human being's natural elimination processes. Sure I use cloth diapers but it takes water and energy to wash them and the older a child gets, the more disgusting and stinky diaper changes get. It bothers me that my kids sit/have sat in diapers going on themselves. I'm the first to admit that diapers are a modern day convenience that I'm sometimes grateful for. I'm swift to change a soiled diaper--even after one wet. It saddens me how comfortable Z1 is eliminating on himself so I want to get Z2 out of diapers as soon as possible.
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