Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Purchase Confession

We are impure. We are full of purchases that besmirch our good name in the Compact.

After receiving a FREE three month membership to the YMCA from a friend in our homeschooling group who can not use it, my husband realized that the tennis shoes he had bought earlier in the Summer at Goodwill (pure) were not enough support for running around the track. So, he looked up online what kind of shoe would be best for him and found a pair at Sport's Authority, or Dick's or somewhere like that.

If you've bought running shoes, you know that that was not an inexpensive purchase. And besides that they were NEW! Yet, how would my husband find something that would feel comfortable on his feet if he did not get a new pair of shoes? On the other hand, how do impoverished children in parts of Africa and Asia and South America run around barefoot all of the time? How did pioneer kids like Mary and Laura Ingalls go barefoot? Maybe because they're kids? And, they don't have a choice...Yeah, but what about the marathon runners from Kenya that train in barefeet and then come to Boston or Chicago and kick butt in running shoes? They're adults. How does that work? Well, maybe the fact that they're marathon runners and are already fit and so don't have as much bulk as my husband does allows them to pound their feet for 26 point whatever it is miles without special Nike or New Balance shoes made just for running back at home.

My husband decided it was OK to get new running shoes. He probably can't get away with running barefoot. Although, if you go to that link, you will learn that running barefoot would probably be the best thing. Being barefoot all of the time, would probably be the most healthy for all of us. Hello Barefooters! We have been going to the Y a lot and see it as part of our good health and fun for the kids and good for our mental health as a family. My husband's feet were hurting in the Goodwill shoes and now they don't. He needed cushy shoes. So be it.

Thankfully, we do have the money to buy things when we need them. The point of the Compact is to challenge ourselves to see if what we want is first of all what we need--it mostly never is--and to see if we can find it used somewhere--we mostly can. Shoes are tricky and we have decided that if we need to get them new, we can. Underwear, bras, shoes, bedding, all of those we can get new if we want to.

Our Compact is not about being austere and monastic. It's not even about being frugal, even though that is a direct result of not buying new. It's about really seeing how we interact with things. How much stuff do we need? Must we get more stuff?

Another confession: for my son's birthday party, we bought the kids some fun plastic flying bats and a set of googly eyes that go on the hand to make a creature for party favors. New stuff there. New, plastic stuff there. New, plastic, made in China polluting at every step of the manufacturing/shipping/packaging/getting-rid-of process stuff there. Actually, I'm sure they will not be thrown out when they're done being played with. They'll be donated to Goodwill, or freecycled or something like that. Our friends don't throw things out like that. These are kids who will appreciate such things. They like being silly together and pretending, even though they are all getting older. I like to support their innocence and creativity. Googly eyes are perfect for that, even ones made in China and that may decompose in about 1,000 years.

There are a couple of other things that we purchased that I don't remember now, but they seemed necessary at the time.

We don't buy it--except when we do... I confess.

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