Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Am a Glutton...For Everything

No, really, it's true.

I had this epiphany the other day that I am a terrible glutton. While this may not be a surprise to some who know me, it was a surprise to me.
The thought came to me when I squeezed in a special trip to the library on the way back from a doctor's check-up with Buster. The library didn't have the one parenting book I was looking for, but I picked up three more in the same genre, you know, just in case. Then I bee-lined over to gardening and picked up five more books about how to turn our brown lawn into a lush green one. And wouldn't you know, the cookbooks are in the same aisle as gardening, so I might as well pick up two Ina Garten books to peruse when I get home. As I precariously hauled my loot to the checkout desk while hefting the car seat and my overloaded purse, I realized something was wrong. I had come for ONE book, and was leaving with ten, none of which was the one for which I came in.
Then I realized that I do this all over my life. I was contemplating buying a new lipstick to replace one that Wiggle had mashed into a pulp inside its case, and then was suddenly thinking of buying two new ones. Our pantry is one can of beans away from qualifying me to join one of those nut-job post-apocalyptic survivalist groups. I have four tank tops with paint on them, but haven't even thought about getting rid of any of them. I subscribe to at least five periodicals and get to read about 1/4 of one each month, but damned if I'm going to cancel any of those subscriptions.
I mean, if one is nice, two is better, right? Of course, I know that's not right, but that is the way I act, and it's really got to stop - like, now.
Now don't misunderstand me, I am not a hoarder; you can get through every room in my house and I have no problem throwing plenty of things away, but my urge is to acquire. And more than that when I acquire things, I always get more than I need. This is also not to say that I can't get utility from the extra things I get. This weekend, for example, we implemented the discipline method from one of the parenting books; with the aid of the gardening books, I have identified several options to plant in the corner of our yard for increased privacy, and I have cooked several recipes from the Ina Garten cookbooks. But would my week have gone on had I not brought home those books? Yes. Or what if I had just chosen one of the books from each category. After all, I can always go back to the library.
And I'm not just a glutton about material things. When I start a new hobby, I do it all the time, or read about every technique. When I started running, I set a goal of a marathon. I have a sewing machine, a quilting board, a rotary cutter, a book on quilting, but I have yet to quilt anything. When I make a menu, I always want to cook a million new recipes instead of going to some tried and true ones that would actually make my weekly cooking easier.
So I have decided to pare down- simplify.
Of course, I would love to be gluttonous with my urge to organize  and embrace material moderation by diving head first into a major house-wide purge, but in the spirit of moderation, I will instead make an effort to really think about every purchase I bring into the house, and purge just one or two things every time I clean an area.
The thing is - now my time is much more precious. With two boys, I barely have time each day to shower and get one load of laundry in, let alone look through, or god forbid, read a big stack of library books, so having extra just seems like more money or more work. I want less now. To spend less. To have less. To be less. Everything less, because life is so much more.


  1. Everything less, because life is so much more...what a FABULOUS post! I love this! This could be in the NY Times!

  2. "I want less now. To spend less. To have less. To be less. Everything less, because life is so much more."

    Ali, this is SO beautifully written! You should think about submitting it to be published as an OpEd piece or something. It's terrific!

  3. Yes, totally. I have been feeling this, too--the need to edit pretty much every area of my life. The older I get, the more drawn I am to minimalism.