Jul 10, 2010


If you can't resist temptation, avoid it.

The single biggest key to our successful family budget downsizing has not been superhuman willpower, it's been an absence of stores. We hunker down here on the farm and are not exposed to the hundreds of ads, store-front window displays, neon signs, and thousand other clever ways that clever little marketing psychologists like me learned in grad school how to manipulate to squirm into to your pocket book.

But as I get out in the world now with my consulting and community work, I'm losing that precious isolation, and earning some pocket money to boot. Dangerous combo, much like how I get glued to a TV when it's on in someone else's house.

Last week I had everything going for me to say "I deserve a treat." I had cycled into town (carbon karma points), done a hospital pre-operation visit (sympathy points), cashed a paycheque (credit points), was melting in our first hot summer day (physical need points), and had no kids to buy for (economy points) nor model for (a get-out-of-role-model-free card). The whole world, and probably most of you readers, would be screaming out at me to just drop the $4 and buy an icecream.

It almost happened at Liquidation World, but my soul's just not strong enough for that big box. A frozen Reeces peanut butter cup on a stick was in my trembling hands, but that's not a corporation I can enjoy slurping. On the ride home I almost bought Island Fresh (local, almost-organic) icecream, but it was across a busy highway and at the "Old Farm Market" that pretends to support local agriculture but then lists anything in BC as "local" and sells California strawberries instead of the delicious Makaria Farm berries 1km away. Hypocrisy leaves a bad aftertaste.

Beyond all these high morals is the fear that I will start to just buy sweets every time I'm out, just because it's available and I can afford it. I'm all for the occasional treat - even, I admit, an imported non-organic big-corporation one - but not as a habit. I had started craving ice-cream as soon as I knew I was going to be alone in town, and that Pavolvian slobber response is a signal of an addiction, not a treat.

So in the end, my biggest treat was to get home off my hot bike, take a long drink of fresh cold well water from the hose, jump under the ice-cold outdoor shower in the garden, and be cooled down in time for a game of basketball with the kids before dinner. Yes, we deserve treats, but we have control over how we define and time them.

1 comment:

  1. I would say that was a very loveable blog post. Thanks.