After reading my post from yesterday, I wonder if I made myself sound like I have been some kind of huge consumer all of my life. Someone, who in an attempt to keep up with cultural expectations, has been purchasing all of the latest stuff featured in magazines. That everything in my house is basically brand new and up to date.
The reality is that I have never really gotten caught up in having the latest of everything, especially when it comes to appliances, electronics, or cars. Both my washer and dryer are almost 20 years old, purchased in '89 when my husband and I bought our first home. My car has 115,000 miles on it and was manufactured in 1999. Our television, which receives analog signals, is 8 years old and I don't plan on getting rid of it when the FCC switches to digital.
While it is easy for me to not have the newest thing that needs fuel or electricity to run, it is much harder to not buy the latest clothing, or shoes or books. Clothing is such a direct personal reflection of who I am and it can be very easy to convince myself that I need a particular item. I am also very good at looking into my closet and looking for gaps and deciding that I don't have enough summer shirts or winter sweaters. As a result, my closet is brimming with many things I really don't need or wear. The same thing happens with shoes and books.
So what's the problem? The problem is that I try and justify my actions by telling myself that because I don't buy new cars or dryers or televisions that I am doing a better job taking care of the environment. That big hulking metal things like cars or dryers take a huge toll on what they take from the world, while clothing is only cotton and books are just a bit of wood from a tree. I try and convince myself that the things I buy serve a useful purpose for me and that "just this one purchase this time" won't make much of a difference. But I need to remind myself that all things impact the environment in one way or another. Even my purchases, no matter how small. This process will involve trying to break a long standing grip that has been on me ever since I heard my first advertisement for clothing. Ever since someone told me I looked nice in a particular outfit or that they liked my shoes.