Nevermind: Temptations Are Way Too Tempting

| 4/19/2010 10:45:46 AM

Tags: Mishelle Shepard, Temptations, Farm life, Sustainable life,


I spent the week in New York City with my sisters and now must recant the bulk of what I professed last post. To resist the overwhelming and constant temptations of city life would require a morale of steel, the stoicism of a soldier, an empty wallet and zero credit. It’s no wonder why so many folks in this country are fantastically fat and/or desperately in debt – the pressure to consume is absolutely overwhelming.

Manhattan is a vast bazaar of offerings, each neighborhood serving a different population or persona, with nothing and no one overlooked. There is a zoo of products and services at every price point. The array of restaurants is spectacular, the fashion ubiquitous, the salons irresistible, the bars buzzing. Anything you desire at pretty much any hour. Not even Superwoman could resist against such an all-encompassing force.

And Superwoman has never even played near my orbit. My statement last week to value time over money is shot pretty much instantaneously upon arrival. Every day was like a safari through the endless world of consumable goods – one day as determined as a mouse in a maze for the ideal shoulder bag, the next day a treasure hunter for discounted boots – the perfect pair finally found at half-price, a mere $350.

My youngest sister is a diva in the Manhattan design world, and so she keeps abreast of it all, in knowledge and presentation. They (her and her not-so-handy hubby) are vegans, are mindful of the planet, even experimenting this year with seedlings to be transplanted into a plot in their community garden. It is an applaudable effort and attitude but has hopelessly little hope of success. I think of the constraints already chaining up all their waking hours – the social life, the family obligations, not to mention the extracurricular career commitments and daily commutes. No wonder they watch ridiculous reality shows, what brain or body power could possibly be left for anything else after all that pressure – to produce, to perform, to consume?

Nothing haunts me more than hypocrisy, especially my own, so thankfully I’ve long ago realized I’ve got to be pretty far outside the mainstream to resist the pull of getting repeatedly sucked into it. While ecology might be trendy, its trendiness is antithetical to the movement itself, because consumption cannot be at the core of a sustainable society. New products for vegans and diabetics and celiac sufferers and vitamin water and aroma therapy and elliptical machines – the message is very clear, get healthy, get green, but don’t stop shopping! I know urban homesteading is getting a huge following fast, but wow, I have to really admire those folks, because there is so very much working against them in the city.

nebraska dave
4/22/2010 1:26:01 PM

Mishelle, I have given up watching live TV. I either watch TV shows on or I record them on my much outdated VCR. I can zoom through the commercials and watch an hour show in just 45 minutes or on the commercials are held down to 30 seconds to a minute which dog gone it doesn’t even give me enough time to get to the fridge and back. It’s a good thing that the computer has a pause feature that allows me to take my time grazing through the culinary delights of the innermost sanctum of the refrigerator. About the only time I watch commercials would be during the Super Bowl and this year was a great disappointment as far as I was concerned. I hope that your recovery from New York City over load is going well. I know when I get back from a trip there is a period of time to slowly recover and get back to normal life. Whatever that is.

4/22/2010 6:28:32 AM

Hi Dave! When we were kids my gramps used to mute the tv at commercials. Of course I used to complain then "but this is my faaaaavorite commercial!" but I find now I do the same thing!

4/22/2010 5:58:26 AM

Thanks to you both! I am sane again and looking at the new outfits in my closet wondering where I will wear them ever again! Thank goodness spring is here meaning I am so busy in the garden there's no hope or desire to shop or travel!

nebraska dave
4/21/2010 2:12:16 PM

Mishelle, the draw of the world views can be strong. I can see that in my five year old grandson. Every TV commercial is some thing that he must have. Food, toys, clothes are all presented in ways that appeal to our senses and logic. It is most prevalent in our society that only if we can get the latest and greatest, then we will be happy. I now have a basement full of happy that I hardly ever think about. One little scary path to the furnace room exists only for maintenance purposes. One day in the future that happy stuff will find a new home to make someone happy and clear the clutter. I have only been to New York City twice in my life. The last time was over 25 years ago. It was a nice experience, but I no desire to return. I have never been a traveler, but ironically I have traveled and experienced a lot of different cultures within and outside of the country. I can definitely say for me that there’s no place like home. The barrage of things that we are bombarded with each day can be quite overwhelming. Some times I just have to reset and take the time to consider where life is taking me and if I really want to go there. I’ve learned that outside influences does not have to determine how I live life. True we still have certain responsibilities in life but we always have choices to make even there seems to not be a choice. Thanks for sharing your always insightful thought provoking mental challenges.

almost country_1
4/20/2010 8:59:40 PM

Don't lose hope, Mishelle! It is tough to resist consumerland, especially in cities, but it's not impossible. My husband and I are consumers, but we've got one foot off the track, and trying mightily to get both feet on saner ground. Folks who really want to find a way. NY is a trip, though, isn't it? Only had one weekend trip--found it a nice place to visit, but...

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