With six people living at home, there are six birthdays, six Christmas (presents) day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, 1st day of school day, you had a shitty day, well done I’m so proud of you day, you just want something new today.
There is a constant influx of “stuff” coming into our home, through active accumulation (me and my shopping habits) and passive accumulation (people who don’t live in our home and their shopping habits!)
I have what could definitely be considered a problem with consumption, I shop when I’m happy, I shop when I’m sad, when I’m bored, when the day ends in “Y”. I’m not sitting on stacks of hidden Louis Vuitton bags and hiding thousands of dollars of debt on multiple credit cards, in fact I don’t even have a credit card – I wouldn’t trust myself with one. However, I am sitting on multiple lunchboxes, at least four per child, because I keep seeing better versions of lunchboxes that for some reason I am unable to resist purchasing, even though the kids each have a lunchbox, wait two, no three, perfectly good lunchboxes. I have bought them because they were on sale, they were on Instagram, they were environmentally friendly, they were locally made, they had Paw Patrol on them. I buy new bed sheets and duvet covers with alarming regularity, packs of pens, little gadgets that clip plastic bags shut to replace the little plastic tags that come with bags of bread that keep the bags shut. I have bought boxes to store smaller boxes in, bags to store shopping bags in, jars to store the contents of other jars in. The bookshelf i bought is full of baskets I bought to store the books I bought…. I think you might be catching my drift.
I have been a compulsive consumer for most of my adult life. I have been unable to resist the urge to essentially have bigger / better / more, and what I have shown my children inadvertently is that having loads of stuff is ok and normal, that ‘stuff’ just appears in the house as if by magic, and that they can have new bottles / lunchboxes / insert pointless crap here* if theirs break, get old, get lost, a more interesting version pops up, and for them, just like me, it doesn’t stop at lunch boxes. My daughter recently dropped my iPhone – “don’t worry Mum you can get a new one”, my son broke a vintage slot car game, “don’t worry Daddy we can go to the shop and get a new one”, they see anything they want “Mum, Dad, get some money out of that machine and buy me [insert whatever junk they want here]”, and the thing is, our kids aren’t even spoilt in the commonly understood way, they don’t get a lot of toys or demands met, but it is the innocuous, insidious and constant influx of new items into the house in general that has led to this.
I have bought a lot of shit and I can certainly say that the majority of it has been if not completely pointless certainly unnecessary. And then I have the audacity to complain that I don’t have enough time to focus on my husband, my children, my own self-care because I am too busy looking after our stuff… too busy cleaning, tidying, organising, stressing about the cleaning, tidying, organising I have to do, should be doing, can’t get done.
I have accidentally and agonisingly set a terrible example to my children and I am ashamed. They are mass consumers, blind and desperate for the next bit of plastic junk wrapped in a surprise landfill wrapper and it is not only embarrassing but heart breaking. So now while they are young and hopefully there is time to role model a better, more purposeful way to be, my husband and I are ready to pick up the gauntlet, put down the debit cards and slow down the consumption.
This is the year, 2020, where my family of six stop the mindless accumulation of stuff that does nothing but bring us stress and take time and energy away from the truly important, this is the year that we refocus our energy and our consumption on what matters, only purchasing items that truly bring value to our lives, to stop the passive accumulation of crap and start to live with greater purpose. Welcome to Six On Purpose.