As an all-American girl, born to and raised by a republican and a deer hunter in the midwest, it's hard to break up with the capitalist mindset. After all, I've been surrounded by it my entire life. I've watched people strive for the American Dream. I've seen them work extra jobs to purchase second cars, or stay at jobs they hated in order to be able to go shopping. Even today, after years of trying to break old habits, B and I find ourselves wanting newer, nicer, better shaped, better colored versions of things we already have. I still long for the day when we are completely out of debt and have enough saved to retire, because (spoiler alert) I want to go shopping without guilt.
I find this fascinating. On one hand, I have this dream in which I get rid of all of my worldly possessions save the clothes on my back, my banjo, my library card, and my french press. It sounds so relaxing, to not have or take care of or even just need stuff. So freeing. But since I don't live that life, I'm always trying to tame the capitalism monster inside of me. I don't actually succumb to its desires often, but I sure do spend a lot of time carefully plotting and listing the perfect items I would get if only we were financially independent.
What would happen if I were rich? Would I take a celebrity turn and shop for things I don't need? Would I get a bigger place? A better wardrobe? Daily dirty chais at the coffee shop? (I just discovered the dirty chai - a chai latte with a shot of espresso. Do not order it. Insanely expensive, totally addictive.) Would I eat out for every meal?
Would I waste money?
It's good that I wasn't born wealthy, because that very easily could have been me. But it isn't. I'm thrifty, and while I would likely spend more, I don't think I would go hog wild if I were to win the lottery tomorrow. My thinking about stuff has changed over the course of this journey, perhaps only slightly, but enough to know I'm physically more comfortable with less stuff, less clutter. I'm not comfortable supporting the currently acceptable labor system with my purchases. I enjoy looking for ways to spend or buy less while trying to maintain my values.
It doesn't always work. But it is something to strive for, and a way to bring creative thinking into my every day life. So, although my parter in crime would probably be surprised to hear me say this, I'm glad we aren't wealthy.