shopping - a bit of a rant

Thursday, December 20, 2007

branches in sunlight in a chocolate room

Phew! Thank God that venture out into the "real" (?) world is over. As I trudged through the mall yesterday, dodging frazzled shoppers pushing carts laden with soon-to-be gifts under the tree, I was quite quickly reminded that - I don't really shop. I've lost both the desire to and the skill to. After years of living mostly on the cheap and narrow, those few extravagances that I need to splurge on (art and office supplies, boots and shoes ...) are ordered online, a once a year trip to a gigantic mall is a very sad reminder of what a consumer society we are. We're just all about the stuff - it's actually quite disgusting when you're not used to being in it. We buy, buy, buy. Buy to heal ourselves, we eat to heal ourselves, we consume to heal ourselves. To heal ourselves from our terribly empty & unconscious lives. Thank God that I escaped to rural Nova Scotia.

I'm so glad that I live in my little village where the lack of retail temptations has gradually cured me of that consumer obsession to shop (I too was a die hard shopper back when I lived in Toronto and worked at Chatelaine, when labels and brands seemed very important). That combined with my very limited funds, I've learned (often the hard way) how to get by with very little. My lifestyle is such that I don't need to get all dolled up to go to work, I work at home. The dress code here at 29 Black Street is casual casual and most days I'm going from drawing at my desk to tromping around in pastures or climbing down red mud cliffs. I hardly ever pay full retail for anything- I've become for the most part a second hand clothing shopper - a Frenchy's maven. A yard sale peruser, a library fanatic (for books and for movies), a second hand book store shopper, I even barter as much as I can in my design business. I'll design (a business card, signage, brochures...) trading for services (massages or aestheticians services even tree trimming and care).

When I do buy things, like yesterday, I do feel a little guilty and it makes me feel a little worried. I guess I'm just not used to it. Being self-employed, I've learned the hard way you need to prepare for the future, for the famine that inevitably comes with the feast or famine lifestyle that comes with being self employed. Although it's looking like 2008 may be mostly feast and feast. How nice would that be!

My favourite splurge gift-to-self yesterday was a beautiful small red Moleskin 2008 page a day planner because I believe that 2008 is going to be a year of amazing change, growth and success and I need a beautiful little book to keep track of it all.


  1. I LOVE this post--- so thoughtful and realistic.

    Susan, thanks for being an inspiration in 2007--- I so look forward to a new year of blogging with you by my side!

    Merry Christmas!

  2. gee thanks DFM. I look forward to more blogging with you as well! Joy to the World!


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