I love free stuff! I seriously get an adrenaline rush when I get things for free.
I am not sure why I love free stuff so much! It may be because I am a penny pincher. It may be because I love a good deal. It may be because I love the hunt. It may be because I feel victorious when I get it. And when I say love, I mean crave and seek after.
I remember “gently nudging” my then 5 year old out into the aisle of a Washington Wizards basketball game to dance and cause a commotion for a free Chipotle burrito.
I remember snatching a thrown Chick-fil-A t-shirt from surrounding kids at a fourth of July parade. (Like you don’t get enough free stuff from a parade?)
I remember hustling along the group I was chaperoning to be sure we all took part in the free sock promotion before a Seattle Mariners game.
I remember going without foundation for a month to wait for the free gift Clinique offers twice a year.
I remember refreshing a webpage for an hour to see the location of a free college swag box, then driving like a crazed maniac to get to the location first. (We were not successful)
I remember chasing down the Seattle Seahawks promotion team to get free bracelets and towels. (Ah, this actually happened yesterday!)
Looks like sporting events are my free stuff weakness, huh?
The problem with all the free stuff I hunt for and seek is, I have to manage all of it when I get home. That is where the problem lies.
I have been following minimalist blogs and Facebook groups for a few years now. An opinion I read many years ago has stuck with me, it stated something to the effect of, don’t take free stuff. If you are not willing to pay for it, you don’t need it.
As you could imagine this statement rocked my world! What, you want me to walk away from free stuff? I seriously am not sure I can physically do that. My brain is not wired for such an action.
But, as I continue to be more mindful about my choices and life, I have begun to see the truth in those words. If you are not willing to pay for it, you don’t need it.
Let’s walk through my snatching of the Chick-fil-A shirt at the parade. The Chick-fil-A float is heading in my direction. I see they are throwing out shirts. My heart rate starts to pick up, I am watching every move of the promoters. A shirt is hurled in my direction. I spring from by folding chair like a cat pouncing on a mouse in a field. My out stretched hand clinches the shirt as I raise it victoriously in the air for all to see. My face is beaming and I laugh and smile in my victory.
I immediately give the shirt to my daughter who is beaming with excitement as well. We ecstatically enjoy the rest of the parade as the victors of a t-shirt.
The adrenalin wears off and now I am left with a shirt that is too big for my kids and too small for my husband or me. It finds its way into my daughters over flowing pajama bin where it sat for years. Did she wear it? Yes, occasionally. Would a less crowded PJ bin have made me happier then that shirt taking up space, you bet!
I know I have a problem. But I also know that one of the first steps to solving that problem is recognizing it as such. Being more mindful about the things we bring into our homes is a crucial part of our journey to becoming free to experience.
It is through mindful living that we will be able to confidently pass up free stuff.
Instead of getting a rush from trinkets, I am striving to live in such a way that I receive an adrenaline rush from passing it up.
There is power, momentum and fulfillment when you consciously choose to not allow the weight of stuff into your life.
I want a life free of junk, not a life full of free junk.
Do you struggle with taking free stuff? (Please tell me I am not the only one!) Have you ever passed up free stuff? How did it make you feel?