They Didn’t Pass the Test

February 6th, 2012 — 9:35am

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about money and how I spend it. I make a decent enough living, and always pay my bills. But I’ve been digging deeper underneath my purchases(I love clothes, and shoes, and purses), often bought on impulse, and making more clear to myself the difference between want and need.

I decided I needed some criterion for my purchases and came up with this: I would only buy things that 1. added to my health 2. created greater ease in my life 3. that made the world a better place, or 4. that brought me joy. Since the beginning of this year, I have spent money on a juicer (health), sneakers (ease), donated money to Planned Parenthood (make the world a better place, and TAKE THAT Susan Komen center), and a pink pencil skirt (um…hmmmm). OK, so this is where it gets tricky. I love my new pink pencil skirt. I decided I would slot it into the joy category, because, in truth, I own nothing like it at all (I tend to buy the same kind of clothes over and over again), and pink. PINK! Pink is delicious and makes me smile! It’s light and springy and femme and I feel happy in it so ok, I’ll call that me joy.

What I did not buy were several pairs of earrings, a new watch, some pretty sweaters, etc. I did not spend $1,000 on those things because they did not pass the “health, ease, better place, joy” test.

I’m not about to wear a hair shirt or because an ascetic, but I do think our actions reverberate not only personally but out in to the world. My work to discern between want and need is one tiny contribution to a world where the limits of growth have become eminently apparent, as has its cost.

I like growing older. I like that the unnecessary begins to fall away.

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