Four months in to the Grand Social Experiment, and my mini-me and I are the two who struggle the most with the not-buying-stuff pledge. And Target is still my crack house.
I broke down twice in the past month. At the Festival of Faith and Writing last April, surrounded by books and writers and words and stories, I bought a book. One book; that's all. I almost couldn't help myself; it was like it called out my name. My Festival roommate Joovie didn't help at all, telling me I absolutely had to read it. It's The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity With Spirituality in the Writing Life, by Vinita Hampton Wright. So far I've only read a few pages, so I can't yet tell if it will alter my brain chemistry and change my life.
Then last week in The Crack House I found myself purchasing three plain light-weight cotton t-shirts for $6 each. I justified the purchase by telling myself that my existing t-shirt stock is getting a little raggedy because I wear some combination of t-shirts every single damn day of my life. My favorite, a black Chico's tee with 3/4-length sleeves literally has holes in it. But I know that this was mere rationalizing. I didn't need the new tees, per se. If I wanted to stick to the literal pledge, could retire the holey one, and get by wearing my other t-shirts for another eight months.
I have not heard boo from any of the other Peevies about the pledge--except for M. Peevie. This girl, like her mother, likes to buy stuff. Plus, she has more disposable cash than anyone else in the household, and it is burning a hole in her pocket. Mostly she wants books--but she also requests specialty clothing items, like rain boots (not strictly necessary, but have you seen how cute they are?), and art supplies like notebooks and markers. We have so many notebooks and markers in our house already that we could open our own art supply store.
Mr. Peevie has saved the day in the book-buying department by taking the kids to the library regularly, and even managing to return our books on time so that we don't inadvertently purchase them. M. Peevie has been whipping through chapter books like nobody's business; A. Peevie is working his way through the seven or eight Harry Potter volumes; and C. Peevie has discovered the Firebird anthology series of fantasy short fiction collections.
So we're plugging onward in our quest to become more aware of our consumerist mentalities, more grateful for what we have, and less influenced by whim and culture to buy stuff we don't really need. If you ask the kids, and even M. Peevie, I think they'll tell you that it hasn't been too hard so far. Clearly, that is not the case for me -- but my excuse is that I've been nurturing my inner Material Girl for 48 years now, and it's a hard habit to break.