Less is More: Embracing the ingenuity of brokeness. | Shopping & Services
So I was reading this weird article last week about a restaurateur in New York who is opening up a temporary fine dining restaurant (in a building that will either be demolished or sold within a year). It was sort of an interesting read in and of itself, but about halfway through, I ran directly into this quote:
“Sometimes no money is better than money.”
In the scope of the article, they were talking about how the budget forced them to make creative design choices. But in the scope of my life, I think it might be my new mantra.
In my past, I have lived comfortably with less (much less). In fact, in my very earliest years on welfare with my mom and sister, I don’t even remember being poor because my mom was a magician. She made quiche out of government cheese and picture perfect Little Bo Peep costumes out of our bedroom curtains (just like Scarlett O’Hara!). She taught me that being broke doesn’t mean not having what you want, it just means being resourceful with what you have to create what you want. Dear lord, how did I forget?
Though it may provide a momentary jolt of pleasure and feeling of fullness, there isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction to be had in going to the mall and buying a sweater. Knitting a sweater on the other hand is a triumphant experience. For example, my brilliant friend Cindy unraveled a damaged cashmere sweater and made it into the most stunning pair of cable knit mitts ever. An amazing and thoughtful mass gift that I’ve been wearing like crazy, and that cost her virtually nothing (except time, and of course, love).
True ingenuity comes from necessity, and when we’re broke, we’re forced to be creative about how we use our resources. Buying stuff is my crutch. It solves the problem in the moment (although it often creates greater problems down the line), but I feel like my “makin do” muscles have atrophied. I may not be as broke as I once was (but worry not, I still have like $16 in my bank account right now), but that doesn’t give me an excuse to forget the value of maximizing what I already have.
10 days ago, I made a resolution to PAY ATTENTION! to how I spend my money (and my time, and my calories…). I also declared that this would be my only resolution this year. Well, I lied. Sort of. Technically it isn’t New Year’s anymore… so consider this to be a mid-January resolution addendum.
Number 1 will still be PAY ATTENTION!, but 1A will be BE INGENIOUS. If my mom managed to materialize a fantastical Christmas out of food stamps and homemade Barbie clothes when I was 5, I can certainly figure out how to reel in the excess and stop solving my problems with my bank account.
I need inspiration! Tell me how you have been creative with limited resources, so that I can try to outdo you.