When I was a kid, in the late 70s and early 80s, my Great Aunt Bea lived across the street from the large French church on Wellington Street. I can only imagine that was a fairly poor and rough part of town at that time. Now it’s gentrified, and you can buy your five dollar coffee like any other gentrified part of town… (Yes, I’m guilty of liking Second Cup specialty coffee)…
I have these snippets of memories with her and my mom as we would go to the thrift stores to buy stuff after watching the game shows. There were a few places we would go, and I didn’t know anything about anything back then because I loved to spend time in thrift stores in Shawville, looking at stuff. The church bazaar, I think it was called. Anyway…
You grow up, and you start making money, and the world tells you that material items are important only if they’re new. And that’s bullshit, but you believe them. And people buy you gifts, and you accumulate stuff, and then you have to look after this stuff. And move it with you. And sometimes you sell it or throw it out.
Then you fall in love with antiques, but people want you to restore them. And that’s bullshit too because a thing has a history, and lines and wrinkles, that give it character. Old things, made not to fall apart, or replace next month, have permanency.
And the world tells you that last year’s model of something is no longer good. And that the thing you bought needs to be upgraded.
Then you get to a certain point… You realize you don’t really need much to get along. And you don’t need 45 pairs of shoes, or $150 jeans.
We work to survive boredom, or maybe as an easy way to get paid for our boredom. And we work to pay for things that we often don’t need, because we’re told we need them.
I still love my little computer luxuries… But I would rather have a pint of beer with someone, or a nice bottle of wine, than something outrageous.
One of my favourite stores now: Value Village, or Salvation Army, or another store like that. I try to avoid malls, and commonality as much as I can. I like unique gems. Finding those things that have permanency.
It’s a smart way to live in a world that already has too much stuff.