You know what I think? I think there are going to be more and more people joining my family in deciding not to buy anything new...however, you may be joining us by necessity and not by choice. You may still want all sorts of new things: the latest i-pod, computer, phone, TV, stereo, CDs, clothes, purses, shoes, toys, game systems, cars, vacations, houses, furniture, exercise equipment and etc., etc., etc.... But, because of a recent lay-off or too much credit card debt or shortened work hours or continuous temporary status (so they don't have to pay benefits--is there downward loyalty anywhere any more?) you can no longer afford to buy as you once enjoyed.
Some enjoyed buying as sport. Some enjoyed the hunt of shopping as an expression of their worth and so, to themselves and outwardly to others, their value as a person.
I'm here to say welcome to all of you! Welcome! You may not believe this, but it is not at all bad to deny yourself things. It's OK. Really. It doesn't hurt, if you realize that things are to serve you and do not define you. You are not your things. You are not your fashion or style--although, aesthetics of all sorts do help explain us to each other. Still, your look is not you. It doesn't have to be your statement about who you are to the world.
Now that you can no longer afford to buy the latest thing and will have to learn to do without, you can learn all sorts of things about what is interesting and important to you in life and in the world.
You know what's free? Your library! Well, your taxes already paid for it, so you might as well go there and enjoy yourself. Go check out a DVD, some CDs, some fiction, some non-fiction--perhaps a book or two about intentional simplicity.
You know what else is free? The woods, or a park or a city street. Go explore, for free. Go somewhere you've never gone. Go somewhere you haven't been to in a while--with the simple intent of taking it in. Not to conquer or own or purchase or demand. Just go and be. It's OK.
Go to a museum on their free day and look with a set of new eyes. See things you've never seen before. Ask questions. Be curious. Explore.
Once you're stripped of your things, and your strong connection to them, you can feel who you are inside. You can look at others differently as well. Not the latest things around that person? Not the coolest shoes? Does it matter, really? Does it?
Has it ever really mattered?
We come to the earth naked and we leave naked and we involve ourselves with things for the journey in between. But, what if the things are all weighing us down because of our relationship to them? What if we could achieve a certain sense of lightness in our lives by no longer worrying about things?
Obviously if you're poor, the worry about things will include rudimentary shelter and food and clothing. What does it say about the rest of the people who are choosing to worry about things as much as poor people do who are suffering and just struggling to survive? Why would people choose that? Why is that valued? Why do we define ourselves and each other through our things?
What about you? What do you contribute to the world? What do you give to your family and friends and causes that you care about? Do you have causes that you care about? Do you know what you believe in? Do you know what's important to you once the things are gone?
Welcome to not buying. It will be OK.