From the Introduction.
Thanks for buying this book. I hope you keep reading, but I sus- pect there's a good chance that you'll stop after the first couple
of paragraphs. And it's not because you're not smart enough to decipher big, fancy words.
Words like decipher.
No, I think you'll stop reading because this book isn't for everyone. When we told people we were not buying anything for a year, we had mixed reactions. Some folks thought it was a great adventure. Others? Not so much.
My best buddy Marty simply asked, "Why?" The expression on his face was the same look he might give if, say, I had just told him I was moving my family to the Amazon rainforest to open a restaurant that sells nothing but corn dogs.
When I told my brother, he asked, "Are you going to write a book about it?"
I shrugged. "Maybe."
He paused for a moment, then added, "That sounds like the worst book ever. 'Chapter 1: Didn't buy anything today.' 'Chap- ter 2: I want a new shirt. Not gonna get it.' "
"Thanks," I said. "I'll make sure to quote you on the dust jacket." Big brothers are full of awesome.
Sadly, I can't fault their skepticism. I feel the same way, but for different reasons. For starters, why would anyone want to write a book about not buying stuff? Anybody who actually buys the book would probably feel like a failure from the word "go."
But I'm sure you picked up your copy at the local library.
Second, and more important, the vast majority of the people on the planet don't have excess spending money. Buying necessary items such as clothes, food, and shelter either stretches the bud- get, or is completely out of reach. It's the global norm. Accord- ing to a World Bank report, roughly 80 percent of the world's population lives on less than ten dollars per day . . . 10 . . . the equivalent of two pumpkin spiced lattes at your local Starbucks.1 Those struggling to buy the basics will find our challenge laughable at best, and extremely offensive at worst. And justifiably so. I would feel the exact same way if I heard of a family experi- menting with my harsh reality just for grins. So feel free to throw this book across the room. Just make sure there is no one stand- ing in your way when you take aim. We don't want anyone to get
hurt, and we don't have liability insurance for that kind of thing.
Now, if you have made it this far, there is a good chance the concept of not shopping for a year has some appeal to you, but you're not sure why. You just know that a vacation from consum- erism somehow sounds like a good idea.
That's how it started for us.
Our situation is the middle-class American dream. We live in a modest, three-bedroom, two-bath house in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee. We have two kids. Our boy is six, and our girl is five. Jake plays little league, and Audrey is in Girl Scouts. I'm a self-employed corporate trainer. My wife Gabby works part-time from home. We have a gym membership. We drive a fourteen-year-old Acura Integra that's paid off and a seven-year- old Honda Pilot that's not. Look up "Cheesy Suburban Doofus" in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of me in my driveway. I'm the one trying to start the lawnmower, wearing Crocs and socks, and whistling a medley of 80s-hair band ballads.
But something is wrong with this life. And it's not just my poor fashion sense.
You have probably felt it too. The day-to-day stress. The busy- ness. The feeling that you can never get ahead. The worries. The anxiety. The want and the need. The giving in and the giving up. We feel all of this and more for no good reason. On paper, we are living a dream life, but in our hearts we notice an empty space is growing larger by the day. A hunger and thirst for something more.
And it's not about the money.
Don't get me wrong. Money is important. Money is what drives our economy. Money allows us to buy our basic needs and survive. But it goes deeper than that.
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|Size: ||421 KB|
|Publisher: ||Westminster John Knox Press|
|Date published: || 2015|
|ISBN: ||9781611646115 (DRM-EPUB)|
|Read Aloud: ||not allowed|