Monday, June 30, 2008

Still a Long Way to Go to Embrace Voluntary Simplicity

More and more, I'm seeing how going green and embracing voluntary simplicity go hand in hand. I'm implementing things like simplifying my family's schedule so that we have enough time to walk or bike somewhere instead of jumping in the car or I have enough time to cook a decent meal instead of opening a box.

But we're getting ready to go on vacation, and I'm realizing how far I have to go until I've really embraced voluntary simplicity. Have you ever noticed how much stuff you end up buying to get ready for vacation? For me, it's always been a good excuse to buy a few pieces of my wardrobe I've been meaning to buy, get a new pair of comfortable (yet stylish) shoes for walking, buy a spare pair of sunglasses .....

I find myself mentally fighting the urge to buy stuff for this vacation. It's a big one - just my husband and me going away for our 15th anniversary. I needed to go out over the weekend and buy a new backpack because my sunscreen spilled in the one I've had for years. I've washed it in the washing machine a couple times and left outside to air out, but the smell is still really bad. Bad enough that I get a headache from it (I am fragrance intolerant). So right off the bat, I've got to buy something before vacation.

I went shopping for a new backpack and ended up looking in three different stores before I found the right one (the right one ended up being the exact same one I've had for years, just in a different color). In each of those three stores I found myself looking for things besides backpacks. Clothes. I don't need any new clothes. But I always buy new clothes before vacation. It's ingrained in me.

If anyone could have heard the conversations going on in my head as I held a pretty gauze top with embroidered flowers on it, they might have thought I'd been possessed by Gollum. The tricksey little gauze top did not win. But I wasted a lot of time looking at things that I had to then fight with myself not to buy.

I've been rather pleased with a lot of my efforts lately. But my experience this weekend helped me to see that I shouldn't be giving myself a medal anytime soon. Right now, voluntary simplicity is a novel concept for me. It's kind of hip, trendy. But if I'm going to truly embrace this way of living, I've got a lot of real changes to make and many of those changes need to be in my head.

Am I the only one fighting with myself to create the type of lifestyle that I want for myself and my family or are some of you struggling with learned thoughts and behaviors, too?

Related Posts
Planning Your Vacation with a Green Focus
Green Term of the Week - Voluntary Simplicity
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