Here in our little town most of the older folks like to save money. And to make things last. We’ve come to see it as a durability mentality. Which has made us think a lot about durability vs. consumerism.
Consumerism ever pushes newer and better things.
- Shopping as a pastime, just to shop.
- Buying stuff just to buy, even when we don’t need anything.
- Replacing things that don’t need replacing.
- Renewing things just because we’re tired of what we’ve got.
A stark contrast to earlier generations, who took pride in making things last, and spending as little as possible.
Six years ago we moved from a populated industrial region of northern Italy. To this small mountain village along the southern Adriatic coastline.
It’s a delightful town. Simple, laid-back, and in many ways kind of drowsy. A large percentage of the 3000 people are elderly. Folks with a lot of simple wisdom and old-fashioned ways. And while their determination to abide by tradition can, at times, be frustrating. It’s also refreshing and liberating!
- Most of them own one purse and two or three pairs of shoes, at the most.
- A Project 333 wardrobe? They’ve never had any other kind.
- Well-coordinated outfits? Much of the time the older folks look like my colorblind husband would, without my help!
- They keep furniture and appliances until they fall apart or no longer work.
- They mostly own the same tools and other useful objects they’ve had since they got married.
So what do they spend their money on?
Eating well. Fresh fruits and vegetables, either from their own gardens or a local farmer’s produce shop. Home-grown eggs and chickens from local farmers. Homemade pasta. Home-canned tomato sauce. Saving up to give their kids and grandkids a head start.
What a contrast to the materialistic life society pushes. Restaurants on every corner. Grocery aisles full of artificial, unhealthy food. Malls and shopping centers every few blocks, specializing in baubles. Useless, dust-collecting items, that only we in the First World can afford to buy.
It’s called Chasing the Dream. But Chasing the Dream doesn’t seem to satisfy, does it? If it did, wouldn’t the quest, sooner or later, end?
That’s why we’ve decided to adopt a durability mentality.
We find it far more rewarding to see how long we can make things last. Things should last, but because of planned obsolescence, that’s often no longer the case.
But by caring for them, we can keep things longer. And that’s good for both our budgets and for the planet. But good for our spirits, as well — because it helps us become more content, and grateful for the many blessings we already have!
Our Italian Village of Durability has taught us a lot.
But perhaps the most important thing is to appreciate and care for what we already hold in our hands. And to realize that newer, better, or more stuff will not bring us happiness!
We don’t want to spend our lives chasing the The Dream — not when it’s already ours! Do you?