Some months ago, I drowned into the toughest buying decision: Where to live. My budget was enough for a tiny apartment in the center or one somewhat bigger in the outskirts. Greater size meant also bigger surfaces to be cleaned and greater spaces to warm up as well as longer everyday commutes. The tiny option offered a convenient subway station nearby, sunny days through its one and only window and bike rides to get around. So I went for the small spot in the heart of town, without realizing the one-shared-closet nightmare I’d started.
Not enough room makes your choices smarter. While sorting the garments, I easily realized that a vast majority of them were almost unworn while the rest, smaller in number though more special, those pieces I really felt comfy in, would easily fit in the half-closet which was assigned to me. Almost ashamed, I packed the rest and gave it to the charity while promising to change my consumption habits.
Summertime. What are the season’s musts? – who cares at all? I know myself. I love moving under the warmth but have extremely sensitive feet that end up wounded, covered in blisters if I dared to sport plastic sandals during a 20km walk. So I decided to put all my pennies in the one and only purchase of the season, the Acne sandals. Top-notch materials, improved design for an even better fit, felt comfy immediately and could report the success to the hand behind it as they employ local designers. One pair for a whole season and the ones to come: That’s what lacking space made with this once renown fast-fashion junkie.
While on vacation, I got sick. Neither stomach flu, nor traveler’s diarrhea but IBS was my diagnosis. No longer can I eat as much as others so, I never throw away anything but treat myself with finer specialties to enjoy slower, while spending the same bucks. Less fruit but organic, less meat but fresh, less fish but from the shore nearby. Same fight in a whole different arena, take less but the best.
Bored of dump files and lost calls, I really needed to change my phone. I know how my life is. I do not drive as often as I get to walk in strange places. I listen to music daily and check the mail on the way home, without mentioning my marathon training. Obviously, I needed an iPhone. Leaving buzz aside, it suits my everyday better than any other device, crystallizing all my needs in one. Not cheap at first sight, while worth each penny on the long run.
The craze about “the last, the new, this season’s” ended. Feels too 90s, too unsustainable, too unconscious, too out, whereas my mother’s after-war scarcity learnt care about quality, endurance and dread of the throw-even-when-functioning-to-buy-a-new-‘cause-it’s-cheaper business model (i.e. printers and ink) is cooler and aligned to the transformation we need.
Some might argue that, without consumption, there’s no way to economic recovery. However, I keep wondering about the recovery we’d like to have. The news recently reported Japan, Germany and France as countries exiting recession: Is this governmental aid based fast sortie supposed to handle the erosion of time? Not at all, this looks like a mirage to me.
This is not a hopeless message but a patient one. Like a marathon, the sustainable recovery goes through inside-out change of all of us, as individuals, in the same direction: Isolated dots joining together, drawing an arrow to success.
The crunch proved that our choices as small consumers count more than what we ever imagined. Just as a simultaneous sea of defaults on subprime mortgages triggered this nightmare, just as we went from consumers to predators armed with limitless credit cards, it’s in our hands to pave the way to recovery.
Step by step, small changes can, like snowflakes, be packed into a huge ball to throw downhill, that grows while rolling and smashes, filling everything with a new clear reality: A world full of nothing but conscious- and happiness.
Let’s less best.
This is a post by the David Report contributor Claudia Muñiz García.