The pace of life is something you seem to talk about a lot as you grow older. Once we hit October, the end of the year comes in a rush, and so many people comment that time is moving fast. When you are busy it is easy to forget to slow down and appreciate each moment. Along with this people are used to getting what they want, where they want, when they want. You are told to change your clothing, your home, your life; on a dizzying cycle of seasons and pushes to get “on trend”. Media, television shows, music, film, celebrities and social media, all give the same message – if you are not up with the latest on everything you are missing out……our beautiful young people are bombarded with the idea of perfection and fitting in – already a huge part of every teenager’s passage into adulthood. Social media is creating an impossible standard that in no way reflects reality.
I remember wanting to fit in ever so much. Feeling like a fish out of water living with type 1 diabetes, in a small country town, with parents who were bohemian and forward thinking, and who also taught at our local area school, I was constantly pushing against being myself. I seemed to be on a never-ending quest to be like “them”. As I grew older I worked out who I was, and realised that is exactly who I want to be. The “them” I had so wanted to be like, were never even close to my idea of what it means to live a valuable life, one that considers others and the planet, making a difference with the time you have here.
When we were kids, our parents always had secondhand and vintage furniture, collectibles, books and clothing. We had new things too, but going to the big smoke to stock up on clothes, or Mary Martin’s bookstore in the city to find the latest treasures to read, as well as an Indian skirt and some incense, were special treats indeed. To me, having vintage in my life was just normal. When I moved out to the city and met my new circle of friends, I realised that it was more normal to go shopping in new stores, and as we shifted into the excess of the 90’s, the consumption of stuff reached peak.
Now, you are constantly reminded to change your sofa, update your living room, shift to the latest seasonal trends, throw out anything you no longer love, check out the latest catalogue and shop, shop, shop. We see fast fashion filling the world with unwanted clothing, furniture and homewares; often made with less than quality materials and under unethical conditions. Much of this ends up tossed away by people eager to fit in…those who have never gotten over the idea that to be who you are means being the same as everyone else; and a false idea that having all of this shiny new stuff will make them happy. On the flipside, some of the stuff that ends up tossed out, ends up in the op shops and comes home with someone like you and I!
There are people who do not buy into the idea of trends, and the tide is turning with more and more of us rejecting the idea that a shopping trip to Westfield is a family outing, or a day out with the girls. More and more of us are realising that what makes us happy is time. Time with those you love. Time to do the things you want to do. Time to make your own things. Time to scour through an op shop or vintage store to find something you need, or bring a treasure back to life. Time to read a book. Time to grow things and wait until they flourish. Time to care for things. Time to enjoy living, rather than shopping. I am not saying I don’t love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to shopping. I have lived with an addiction to shopping in the past. Even buying too much in an op shop is a problem, or picking up roadside finds that you will never use – because ultimately, you will throw it out or back onto the roadside. Even shopping vintage comes with the important responsibility of not buying too much.
The thing with shopping vintage is that you can not go with a preconceived idea of what you want, whether that be for your home or your clothing. You can know you want a couch, or a jacket, but the colour, style and so on, will be a mystery until you find it, which is really part of the joy of it all. Unlike shopping from a big brand store where their latest ranges are saturating your television set, newspaper and magazines, social media, interior design instagram pages and blogs; and even your letterbox; and you can walk in store and grab one in each colour – shopping vintage means you have to wait to see what you find.
What does that mean?
It means you are slowing down your consumption, you are giving something another life. It means you have something unique and often better quality. It means you save cash! It means you appreciate history, you engage with stories of the past, and you save something going into landfill. It means you are learning to be patient – you learn to wait and most importantly, you learn that being “on trend” and having “the latest” will not make your life better or ultimately make you happy. Time and love really will. You do not have all the time in the world. Fill it with love, not shopping and reap the rewards.
*updated post from 2016