When last did you create something, using your own hands or mind to make something? When last did you see a marketing ad that wasn’t trying to get you to buy something? I don’t recall any. Advertising is always about getting us to buy something–a product or a service. We have become a nation of consumers and no longer creators.
I grew up in a middle-class family where my dad fixed his own car and taught his children to do simple auto maintenance. We also had a garden with flowers and vegetables. Every summer, my sister and I helped our mom preserve fruits and vegetables. We also had fresh flowers simply arranged on the table. Mom made many of our school clothes and I learned to sew. I still sew now, but mostly creative projects and only occasionally clothes.
I felt lucky to have grown up in a can-do family and enjoy creating, making, cooking, and even fixing things.
Our culture is ALL about consuming…..and it comes at a high cost
Marketing ads bombard us to get us to buy everything from cars, clothes, drugs, packaged foods, services, etc. America used to be the home of “Yankee ingenuity” and Made in America pride, but we’ve exported so much of our productivity and with it a sense of accomplishment and well-being.
What happened to creating in our lives? For one thing, we believe we have less time than our grandparents did, yet we all have the same 24 hours. It’s more about our priorities and what we choose to do in that time. I suggest we choose to value creating more and use our time differently.
Although we have been sold on the idea of time-saving devices, fast food, and “keeping up the with Joneses”, we’re not happier, healthier or more relaxed than earlier generations. In fact, we’re less healthy, more depressed and dissatisfied than ever before. I believe tapping into our creativity can have a positive impact in our life.
Here are three major reasons to create more and consume less.
1. Better Health by Cooking at Home
Back a couple of generations, families went out to dinner for special occasions only. In 1955, Ray Kroc was the pioneer of the fast food movement. Eating out became cheaper and more frequent–and less healthy. We are aware that the trifecta of availability, frequency and portion sizes have been a health crisis and resulted in an obesity epidemic in this country.
Processed, packaged food were marketed as time-saving and to free people (women mostly) from the “drudgery of cooking”. Well, look how that worked out! Roughly 2/3 of American are overweight, who today spend millions on diet products and programs, drugs, exercise equipment and gym memberships, and for those who can afford it, personal chefs and trainers.
Consider cooking at home. Buying fresh, locally grown organic foods has never been easier and more affordable. Healthy ingredients for preparing meals at home can be found at local farmers markets, Whole Foods, Amazon, Walmart, and all stores in between.
I’ve struggled with maintaining a healthy weight for decades and finally have it under control. Eating out is now a treat for me, not a habit. I prefer to prepare meals for family and friends in our home and I really enjoy it. For starters, I highly recommend Gina Homolka’s Skinnytaste website and blogs for inspiration to create healthier meals and her latest book, Skinnytaste One and Done is a gem.
Action: Make Meals at Home
If good health is a priority for you, create meals at home. Shop your local farmers market and the perimeter of a grocery store to buy fresh meat, fish, and produce. It is convenient and healthier. Avoid pre-packaged and fast foods.
If you want healthy meals, yet are time-limited to shop for groceries, you can still create delicious, healthy (with specific dietary preferences) and interesting meals using a boxed meal ingredients delivery service such as Blue Apron, Hello Chef, Sun Basket, etc. This can be an activity enjoyed together in the evening as a couple, doesn’t require going out, and the results are delicious. Or if you’re single, they offer a delicious healthy dinner tonight and another meal to enjoy the next day.
2. Improve your finances (and your peace of mind) with less “stuff”.
You do not need to be a minimalist to realize our stuff tends to own us, not the other way around. It requires our money to buy things, our space to store it, and our energy to take care of it.
Overspending can lead to poor saving habits or a credit card debt problem for many consumers. It also fills life with too much stuff and activities, crowding out a calmer, lighter quality of life. Before you click the convenient and effortless “buy button”, evaluate alternatives.
Action: Reduce your consumption.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I really need it? Can I make-do or substitute something else I already have?
Is it something I can create or do on my own? And most importantly, is it something I can make or do myself?
Can I borrow it? Shop your closet, garage, storage rooms. You’ll be amazed at what you already have.
3. Creativity Nourishes Our Spirit with Positive Psychological Benefits
Creative opportunities are all around you. These include: designing or making something yourself, do-it-yourself projects, fixing things before calling a service person, and problem solving.
When we make something personally, research has shown that creative experiences increase endorphins, the feel good hormones.
Being in the flow of creativity is often been considered to have the same benefits as meditating.
Psychologically, we personally value what we create more than if we bought it.
We learn a variety of skills and they improve with practice, as well as being transferable to other parts of our lives.
Creating something builds our confidence and our courage to tackle other projects.
And lastly, it often saves money and quality is better.
Action: Think and act more creatively now.
Is there something you’d like to try creating? Prepare a new recipe or meal, buy and arrange your own flowers, sew, make custom furniture, paint, write a book, etc? The ideas are endless. Hope I gave you a few to get you started.
Just do it. Begin and you’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have. Let me know what you’re creating.