On the forth of July, Justin stopped at Lowe’s to grab some quick materials. In the store he ran into some newly married, new homeowner friends of ours buying paint. Nothing different or special about the encounter or their activity except that a few years ago that would have been us. Using the holiday as an excuse to get some seemingly “much-needed” house projects done so that we could host a gathering coming up or finish a redecorating project. Spending money and time doing a project in the house and feeling accomplished afterwards, sitting in the space afterwards and taking it all in. These days, our trips to the lumber yard or hardware store are numbered and very specific. After countless trips to and fro and countless dollars spent, we got tired of it. It’s something we acknowledged as a task that no longer brought us joy. Every time we’d go in we’d spend another $100 on things we could most certainly live without. After the money was gone, we’d spend hours + days working on whatever it was only to have to work that much more to earn back the funds to be able to enjoy it. It took us 10 years to realize we didn’t like that equation.
After Justin came home from Lowe’s that day and told me he’d seen our friends and that he asked expectantly if they were spending the day painting, I had an idea. When I have an idea, it usually turns into a plan or a challenge and this time was no different. I quickly scribbled a few lines into my Notes app on the phone to refer to later, which happens to be now as I sit here on this flight to Portland among the device-addicted, sleepy and inconsiderate humans who wouldn’t allow Justin and I to sit next to each other.
I wrote and really considered this notion…What if we all thought a little more about our time and the way we spend it. What if we all thought a little more about our money and the way we spend it. Before we spend it. What if we thought about the motivation for buying the things we want; what if we really considered what we actually get from those projects or products. What if every time we thought we wanted to buy something, a new rug, a set of dishes, a new scarf, that new flat screen TV, even that new color of nail polish. Or every time we think about starting a new project; painting that upstairs bathroom again or hanging new curtains, re-landscaping the front walk way. What if every time we thought about those sorts of things we made mental note of it and then went and did something else instead. Something free and enjoyable, in nature, either alone or with others. What if you went and did that thing you’ve been telling yourself for years you’d do? What if you went for a walk or took your dog for a walk. What if you picked up a new hobby or donated something you never use to someone who needs it. Once we did some of those things, would we want to start that project still or spend money on that thing we wanted? Or would we begin to enjoy life so much more that that false sense of accomplishment we get from owning stuff and completing projects would eventually dissipate and we would value things differently? Would we have such a major value adjustment because of that simple change that we became happier, healthier, wealthier and more active? I kinda think we might.