I struggle with the holidays, not because I dislike them or have bad memories, but instead as I’ve aged I’ve come to struggle with how much they revolve around consumption. So many folks I know who do amazing creative things are pushing to sell as much as possible and yet, I’ve come to believe that consuming at the rate we do is bad for the planet and, I’d argue, often times bad for individuals.
Add to that that two of my hobbies are, by their very nature, oriented around consuming, either fabric or yarn, and you have a recipe for constantly questioning my consumption. I buy as I go with my making, so as not to have things I don’t use sitting around. This year I’ve made a concerted effort to use up the partial skeins and scraps of fabric I’ve accumulated. I’ve started slowing down how much I make both because I want to enjoy the process but also because I’ve become keenly aware of much I’ve made and how little I need. I love the act of making so it’s a conundrum that I’m caught in constantly.
I came across a newsletter this past weekend that resonated with me from a creative who also struggles with this season and the amount of consumption that comes with it. She quotes a Swedish woman who said:
Buy what you need, want what you have.
The newsletter author added:
Support what you love.
The first two statements resonate with me so very much and our household thinks a lot about purchases, but I struggle with the support what you love and have struggled with it for a while. I think about this not just in terms of physical items, but also in terms of supporting things via Patreon or subscriptions. I can’t support all the things I love, my budget isn’t big enough and I’ve been wondering if this truly is the best way to live. Capitalism means everyone needs to both make money and also the economy runs on people spending money, and yet….
I don’t know what else to say other than it’s hard, isn’t it? So many great things being made at small scale or writers saying important things, how does one decide what to support? And ultimately, how do we get away from this being the way it all works?
And now for the usual list of a few good things from the recent months, which have been hard with all that’s going on in the world, so I’ve been looking even harder for the small, good things in my days.
- As I walk through the neighborhood on my daily walks I get glimpses of the mountain and have been watching as it gets covered in snow, the ski runs visible as bright white lines running down it. On the days we have fog and clouds, it’s even more beautiful as it pops out from behind the clouds and mist.
- I got a new phone and with it all the usual free trials of Apple Services and for the first time I opted in to the Fitness app. To my great surprise I’m loving it. I’m mixing things up and doing a lot of the various workout types. It’s been great.
- I made another pair of jeans, this time with significant pattern tweaks to improve the fit and… IT WORKED! You never know about these things until you complete the project, but it was so satisfying to pull these on and have a great fit at the end.
- I’ve been knitting by the tree, mostly in quiet, enjoying the meditative quality of the stitching and the twinkle of the lights as I go. As the darkness comes earlier and earlier, it’s been great to find the light where I can.
- Last month I was walking home from an appointment in town, it was dusk when I left town but by the time I was near our house it was dark. Some kids came out of a house with their mom and one of them yelled “HI” and I said hi back. The older kid then yelled across the street at me, “Why are you walking? IT’S DAAAAARK!” and I replied that I had to get home. Maybe this interaction is part of small town lyfe (of which I’ve had quite a few lately) but maybe it’s also the reminder to be more curious like that kid. It brought a smile to my face.
- The fact that people who themselves are running small creative businesses trying to sell in these time are also struggling with what that all means, I’m glad to know I’m not alone in thinking about all of this.
Whatever is going on with you as you read this, I wish you more of the things that bring you comfort and joy and less of the hard things if at all possible. I’m working hard to hang on to the former and find the quiet moments of peace in this season.