Monday, October 25, 2010

Think About Stuff

Welcome to my blog! (This is my first post, so bear with me....)

So, it's a dreary Monday in Toledo, Ohio; it seems like Mondays are always dreary here. It's a gray place to live, although it has some sunny moments. More often than not, though, I have to create my own sunny moments. So, I delve into the activities that excite me--writing, reading, and thinking. Reading leads to thinking; thinking leads to writing. Last year, while finishing up my Bachelor's degree, I read a lot of fascinating and inspiring books that led me to a lot of thinking...about stuff.

The most influential book I read on this topic was Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire by William T. Cavanaugh. A scholarly book, it is certainly not a quick and easy read. However, since I've read it, I now think about what I am buying, where it comes from, and why I'm buying it. I think about the reasons of why we as a society are compelled to buy.

Cavanaugh's book led me to change my buying habits, but it wasn't enough. I wanted more simplicity. So, I read the book The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta. This book offered me suggestions on how and why to get rid of stuff and how to organize the stuff I keep. This is no easy task, I assure you! Knowing, though, that others can use what I may not have used for several years gives me a peaceful feeling, as though I'm doing right for the world, for once.

I made several hauls to Goodwill. I still have a ways to go, but I feel much lighter (less clutter around the house equals less clutter in my mind) already.

Here's my final thought (for today) about stuff and consumerism and, possibly, a "call to action" (if you choose to accept...!): The day that seems to mark the beginning of the Christmas season is known as Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). What I did last year and what I will do again this year is to use that day to do the opposite of what the general American society does (anti-spending): take donations of all kinds to places that will happily accept them. Can I make this a movement? Probably not. And certainly not on my own. What will you do on Black Friday?

Look at your stuff; ask yourself what it means to you. Think about stuff; ask yourself if you need to keep it. You might find yourself feeling a little lighter, maybe a little sunnier, even if you live in a gray town.

Let me know your thoughts about stuff; let's get a conversation going!

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