In 2013 I’m not buying books or clothing. This declaration was uttered in early January when the spirit of Christmas had been replaced by the spirit of publicly sharing resolutions and I was not to miss out. I chose books and clothes mostly because an aura of minimalism has been slowly creeping up like a slow summer storm, first on the horizon and then suddenly all about. I also chose these two things because I have enough of each.
The first two months of the year have been a perfect success. Like my peers who are avoiding dessert to lose weight or staying away from Facebook for lent although there’s something I’ve learned that they probably have too, absolute restriction needs to be replaced with relative appreciation. I’m still reading a book or two a month but getting them from the library and re-reading the books I already have. I’m still wear clothes but finding new combinations – pink and red on valentines no less.
In economics there is a theory that suggests your next things is less valuable than the last, your next shirt is less valuable then your last shirt, your next car is less valuable to you than your last. To have some basic level of things – cars, shirts, books, dollars – is important but each additional one will bring less ‘utility’ than the last. To some extent that was my problem. I loved getting the brown amazon box delivered and opening up the contents but only a few of the books I’ve bought have been life changing and worth owning.
For many Christians the Lenten season is here and giving up something so as to reflect on its departure is part of the custom. If you’re doing this I hope that it brings you a sort of tranquility and peacefulness to realize the non-importance of your choice. Dessert, Facebook, books, clothes, booze, sloth – though each is part of your life you don’t have to let it remain so.