This is a theme that keeps surfacing this week, something I’ve been thinking about whenever my mind wanders. I figured I would share it here in case you find yourself thinking about it too.
This is about money and how we spend it. Going deeper, this is about all the decisions we make -big and small- that build and layer and become our lifestyle, mindset, health, living environment, community, and selves. This started as a brainstorm for an essay about how gold jewelry is worthy of investing in. As the owner of SUN, I’ve come to realize that part of my job is to show how good it feels to wear jewelry that is handcrafted of natural materials that will last your lifetime. Gold is start stuff. It’s other worldly. It came to earth from the heavens and I want everyone to fall in love with wearing it. But today, I’m not going to try to sell you on gold. Because my brainstorm evolved to carry a bigger message that I think has to come first: to bring more consciousness to the act of buying—anything.
Many of us, generations of us, learn that the less money you spend, the better. BOGO, TwoFer, CLEARANCE, Costco. From groceries, to school supplies, the booze we drink, the soap we lather up with, our underwear and everything else. Spend less, get more - that’s the way nations of us have been conditioned to think. For most of my life - my eye always scanned for the cheapest option on the shelf. And then, at a certain point I woke up and realized I was filling my life with crap, exchanging my hard-earned money for garbage, and feeding a beast of a cycle that hurts people, animals, plants and our beloved insects.
It took me a loooooooooong time to really learn this lesson. And I’m still working at integrating it fully into how I make my decisions, big and small. I see now that everything is an exchange. Nothing is neutral or inert. The money I spend, the door I hold open, the mini-jog I take in the morning, the time I spend scrumbling Lou the dog, the pedicure I avoid or the extra glass of wine I have in the evening—it’s all give and take, everything has its effect.
I’m in a funny situation now as a consumer because starting a business has me in a different monetary ebb and flow than I’m used to. And when I have less money, I feel the pull of fast fashion and cheap food more than ever. Spend less! Spend less! Spend less! Is the voice inside my head. It’s hard. But I’m conscious of it now. Almost always, the cheaper option proves to be of lesser quality, made under sketchy circumstances, arriving with a giant footprint, a symbol of a dying planet that I then consume and absorb. Buy less, spend more! That is what I remind myself of now. Less meaningless stuff, better food, time to create, good wine, sunshine, perhaps a dip in the ocean. Leaves me wanting nothing.
*Featured image is Lauren DiCioccio's Thank You (yellow). Hand embroidery on organza, 2008