How are your New Year’s resolutions going? I am still slugging away, but it isn’t easy. My resolution is my desire to become consciousness of my consumption. Now, while a food diet may be the first thing to come to mind when I use that phrase, food is only a small part of it.
Having three weeks off and spending it at home over the holidays was the most generous gift I was able to give to myself but it also brought me face to face with all of my stuff. And, while I realize I don’t have as much stuff as those who live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, I have more than enough.
That is the other phrase I want to learn to use: more than enough. Because the truth is, most of us in the United States and most if not all who are reading this blog have “more than enough.” Speaking only about myself, I bear an enormous burden of riches when compared to those who live with the Hunger Season. (I’m referring to the families and villages/neighborhoods in many countries of Africa who at this exact time of year face debilitating if not deadly hunger. Ever since I saw how little too many others have, I have tried to learn to live with what I have on hand as well as nurture a conscious gratitude for what I do have along with a non-judgmental yet measuring eye for what I think I need.
2012 is the year I practice conscious consumption. Each item I put into my basket (be I at a bead store, clothing or a food store—or even an electronics gadget store) must be confronted with these questions: is this needed or is there another way to meet this need? If it is only wanted, it is time for me to grow up enough (I say to me) to question my desire to have and to sooth myself with the fact that I already have enough. The caveat is that I am speaking of things—not medication, or car or home maintenance. But even then, I hope to have a reverent gratitude for my ability to obtain. There is no big message in this blog. Only a sharing of something I am trying to learn to do for me.
Inez Torres Davis is Women of the ELCA’s director for justice.