Sunday, June 20, 2010

What's behind Door Number One?

Sometimes counting my pennies sucks.

Those times include, but aren't limited to, wanting to go on vacation, enjoying anything on the menu at an expensive yet tastefully appointed restaurant, and buying something I don't need, just because I want it.

Let's take yesterday. My son Logan and I strolled through an outdoor flea market that was set up in a park. The market was populated with vendors selling antiques.

There was a partial door - very old, partially painted, naturally distressed, with a super-cool white ceramic doorknob. And the doorknob worked.

Of course I didn't need the door. But I wanted it.

Then I heard the voice of reason coming from the face of my 14-year-old son. "That money would be better spent on something we need, and that door's not practical."

Snotty and parental? Maybe. But he was right.

I left without the door, but I wish I could have bought it with impunity.

In the long run, I'm glad I passed on Door Number One. Because frugality, with all its imagery of lack and miserliness, has another name.

Let's call it resourceful abundance.

I don't accept the equation that frugality equates to lack. I see it more as conscious consumerism.

My world doesn't feature the maudlin scent of poverty. It's alive with color that isn't found in a store; it's assuaged with the vibrance of using everything to its fullest potential, of gratefulness for everything and want for nothing.

We're lucky to have found ourselves in this occasionally weed-ridden, often fruitfully generous garden of a planet. And the combination of gently using while consciously replacing seems to be a good idea.

We mandate so much in this crazy country. So many rules have gone from the imposition to the acceptance stage during my lifetime. And I wonder sometimes why we can't impose rules that are designed specifically to benefit the greater good - mandated recycling, hybrid cars, alternate power that would release us from the mess we've created.

I think we'd be on the fast track to large scale resourceful abundance.

Because just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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