Anne Notations

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Recent events have put a horrific crimp in our fiscal plans (not to mention an apparent black hole in our bank accounts). In a not unrelated development, I have felt personally stressed beyond the reach of primal scream therapy.

I've been trying to cope with things out of my control by simplifying aspects of my life that I can control. I've unsubscribed from Usenet groups and mailing lists - too much information, too much noise. I've come to enjoy not having a mini television in the kitchen, as we did in the previous house. (Amazingly, I can live without watching the evening news as I cook dinner!) I'm aspiring to achieve a composed, calm approach to my daily commute to work and back. Rule number one: Stop caring about other drivers' progress relative to mine. So what if the nitwit in the Beemer gets to Providence two minutes faster than I do? Rule number two: Stop listening to obnoxious local talk shows that get me screaming at the car radio; instead, put on a nice CD and chill.

In order to move into this house, we had to get rid of a ton of possessions. At first it was painful (oh no, my Pitiful Pearl doll from 1958! Nana's quilt squares that no one ever stitched together!). Then, after a while it felt good. Now that we're living here, it feels great. While this is no Bauhaus, our wooden surfaces are free of knickknacks, and I've pared down the dinnerware and china by at least half. (Here is a wonderful quote from a decluttering blog that has helped me come to terms with "re-homing" family hand-me-downs: "Realize that disposing of an object does not in any way reflect on your respect and love for the person who gave it to you, or who owned it before. If we don't ever dispose of things from our past, we leave no room in our spaces for the present and the future.")

In order not to re-clutter our home, and to stanch the flow out of our savings, I've vowed not to buy anything we don't genuinely need. This is not as easy as it sounds. From mid-20th century on, we Americans have been raised in the universal religion of materialism, inspired by the gospel according to Madison Avenue. Very few of us are immune. We buy. Then we want. Then we buy more. Mark Morford, a columnist for, said it very well: "It is ... the American way. We are not the slightest bit trained to care about waste, excess, the mindless accumulation of needless things. The notion of simplifying, of saying no, of intentionally and mindfully choosing to keep ourselves free of all the superfluous crap that's hurled at us by a product-drunk culture is so far from our junktastic ideology it is ... nearly unthinkable."

I'm getting better at saying no. My new mantra is ENOUGH. When we need something, I'll buy it - or take it out of the library. The credit card stays in my wallet, thanks.

We've plenty of stuff.
It's time to get tough.
Feeling down? Feeling rough?
Don't buy! Shout ENOUGH!

First steps: I've been plodding through my inbox, unsubscribing from all the commercial spam I agreed to receive over the years. If I can't see all those fabulous "deals," I won't jump at them. Lands End: Bye bye, baby. Hasta la vista. It's been swell. I never bought your cards anyway.

This Zen site is my new favorite hangout. I'm hopping off the materialism merry-go-round; it was making me dizzy. I've had - you guessed it - enough!

P.S. to my dear family and friends: From this day forward, if you ever feel moved to give me a gift, please give flowers - they are frivolous and I love them, or fresh fruit, or something you've baked. Better yet, give a gift to the charity of your choice and then tell me about it. I now more fully understand my grandmother's and mother's disclaimers that they truly did not need or want anything besides a homemade card.


  • Rule number one: Stop caring about other drivers' progress relative to mine.

    GOOD FOR YOU! Once I learned to do that, maybe 5 years ago, driving became so much more enjoyable.

    I leave early, drive the speed limit, stop at yellow lights, and enjoy my driving. If someone is tailgating me, I pull over and let them pass. WHy get upset? Why play games? Let them pass!

    My driving record is impeccable now. No tickets, no accidents, and, best of all, There's no stress while driving.

    It's SO SIMPLE. Why did it take me 45 years to learn this obvious truism?!

    By Blogger uknowwhoiyam, at Wed Sep 12, 09:41:00 PM EDT  

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