Choices and What We Do With Them


Having choices is a luxury not everyone enjoys.

For instance, people that are incarcerated don’t have many choices.

“Uhm, excuse me, Mr. Guard?  Yeah, my cellmate tried to cut me with a shiv last night so I’m wondering if I can see the list for other  potential roomies for the next 20 years or so?”

People living under tyranny don’t have many choices…or rather many GOOD choices.

“Let’s see, rape or mutilation, that’s a hard one…”

Societies experiencing famine, also have limited options.

“We can either eat all 15 grains of rice  today or we can split them up and eat 8 today and 7 tomorrow.”


Conversely, in my non-imprisoned, developed, democratic world I often feel like my head is going to explode with the sheer magnitude of the choices I have available to me.  I stood in front of the “natural cleaner” section in the grocery store for ten minutes the other day trying to sort out which multi-purpose cleaner to buy.  Now that is just ridiculous. Also, have you ever been to a Cheesecake Factory?  They have a roughly 76 page menu.  It is paralyzing and absurd all at the same time (particularly in the same paragraph with the 15 grains of rice reference).

Also, having money to spend brings us more choices. In our case, the more income we had, the more “things” we chose to buy.   Last year, when we weren’t buying anything new, anytime there was press about our project, there was always a handful of “concerned citizens” who would snark that this wasn’t news because poor people HAVE to live like that or that in “their day” everybody “made due” and didn’t buy a bunch of stuff.

And they are absolutely correct, they win the “MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS” commenter award.  But, the truth is, that society HAS changed and I don’t think there is any dishonor in being financially secure.  So, it comes full circle to the luxury of having choice.

Our family chose to be more mindful of our consumption.  We didn’t have to do it (like, admittedly, so many do).  We decided to do it to be a little greener, live a little simpler and perhaps learn a bit in the process.

On Monday, I am passing The Simple Year to Kandice and her family.  They are an upper middle class family that has worked hard over the years to accumulate.   They have also made a choice,  during their Simple Year, they are going shed their material belongings in an effort to identify what is really important.  In Kandice’s words,

“We’re simplifying. We aren’t just de-cluttering our house although that’s something we’re prepared to tackle. We’ve committed to de-cluttering our lives. The big house, the luxury cars, the cable TV, household goods, clothes, schedules, commitments, frivolous expenditures and relying on other people to maintain our home are all up on the chopping block.”

I’m fascinated and can’t wait to watch this reverse Beverly Hillbillies story.  I am also sad, that I won’t be giving you my unsolicited opinion and embarrassing my children regularly here any more.  But, Kandice has generously offered to let me guest post occasionally, so you never know when you might hear from me again.

Kind Regards,


Speaking of embarrassing my children. I took this a couple of years ago when I found it on my 8-year-old's door.

Speaking of embarrassing my children. I took this a couple of years ago when I found it on my 8-year-old’s door.





6 Responses to Choices and What We Do With Them

  1. Brilliant. I need one of those for my door.
    We have talked a little about how blessed we are to be able to do BNN year – that it shows that not too much of great concern is happening in our lives. It really is a very privileged thing to do. I’m fascinated by the idea of what Kandice is doing. I wonder, if they’re successful, what impact they might have on the other people around them. Bring it!

  2. Fab post! I would echo the other comments that we are privileged to be in a position that we are able to choose to Buy Nothing New. The new family and their challenge sound great-I am intrigued!

  3. I can’t wait to see what Kandice and her family show us. I’ll certainly be taking notes! I’ve been late to join, but I have enjoyed every post I’ve read, thank you for not only sharing your journey, but also providing the opportunity for us to learn and grow with another family.

  4. Congrats Kerry for passing the baton instead of dropping it….looking forward to the new family’s story even though I ‘m not related to them 🙂

  5. I’m really going to miss your posts, but am looking forward to reading Kandice’s story.
    We (family of 4 from Melbourne, Australia) moved to the country last year, and one of my main reasons was to have LESS choice. The town we now live in doesn’t have any retail stores, apart from a New Age gemstones and tat shop (who buys that stuff??) much to the horror of my 12 yo daughter, but the Big Town is 15 minutes by car so she isn’t totally deprived:-). And even though we still buy stuff, I’m trying to be more mindful of what is really necessary.

  6. Thank you for a wonderful year. Always entertaining and I’m so grateful to have been able to share this year with you. So glad you made the choice to pass The Simple Year to Kandice, I am intrigued by her teaser and looking forward to knowing her story.

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