Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What Are YOU Working For?

Anyone else catch Lisa Ling on Oprah today? She interviewed “freegans”…people who use freebies they find in the garbage…everything from food (often new in the packaging) to furniture to exercise equipment. The unique thing about this particular group was that they didn’t need to save money to “get ahead”; most were making six figures. But they wanted to consume less. Oprah asked what they did with their money. They talked about living simply so they could give more. One woman now donates her time (time she’s earned by not spending money) to causes that she supports.

During the discussion, they started talking about how we often work to pay for our consumer habits…that when we consume less, we enable ourselves to work less. But they also stressed how hard this is to do. In the United States we are influenced by multi-million dollar corporations whose sole goal is to get us to spend more. People surround us saying that we must stop wearing this outfit because it’s “last year.” Since the fashion industry depends on our belief that we must look a certain way—this year—they’ll do whatever it takes to convince us to BUY NOW. Our kids watch television and see 25+ commercials an hour, convincing them they must have this new toy or that new snack. So we work. We work and work and work. So we can consume.

They asked an excellent question…”What are you working for?” What’s a need and what’s a want?

Are we working for our kids? Food? Shelter? A bigger house? A nicer car? Vacations? And if the answer is “our kids,” is it really? Are we doing everything we possibly can to be WITH those kids? I wonder how the world looks from a kid’s perspective. Will the new house, nicer car, better vacations ever be able to compete with the thing they want most…time with Mom and Dad?

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