Stop Shopping Take a Break and Go Outside Already

Creeksgiving (All rights reserved)

From now through the December holidays we we will be inundated with marketing and, perhaps, tempted to give in and shop and buy. Gift giving is part of our cultural game, and some of us must, but you should use this December to rethink how you approach things.

Do you remember REI’s move on Black Friday? Close on Black Friday to allow employees and customers to go outdoors and play rather than shop. REI chose to “Opt Outside,” and it encouraged other consumers and retailers to follow their lead. You were supposed to go outside.

Yet we are still getting emails and mailings promoting new products for gifts and ourselves. Including from REI. They come in the name of gift giving and suggest was to improve our kits. And we always need to refresh our clothes since things wear out, which is true. But the whole point of all of it is to help us have suitable clothing and gear for whatever we want to do outside.

But to get what we really want and what we really need for wellness and health, spending money on the latest gear unnecessarily doesn’t solve our predicament. We spend too much time at work, on our devices, and on activities that we fool ourselves are just as important and more important than breathing and moving, especially out among nature.

We consume a lot. Clothes and accessories, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, kitchen gadgets, food, sporting goods, wrapping paper, gifts with loads of packaging, electronics, homes, cars, exercise equipment, games, books, and everyone must replace their single-wall water bottle with a large insulated one, because someone gave us the idea that it was superior, and power tools; don’t forget the power tools. Somewhere among those things we need to use our walks or hike or bike rides and ski runs to connect to what really makes us feel alive.

Daylight is one of our most precious commodities during the winter, and we need the sunshine and the fresh air that comes with it. The pandemic supply chain challenges illustrated how big box and overstocked grocery stores, and instantaneousness of online ordering spoils us. You should take a walk during your lunch break or, with your work-from-home schedule, squeeze in a short hike or trail run.

When you live somewhere flat there is a temptation, in between pilgrimages to the mountains and wilderness, to gear-up. Shopping without purpose but under the guise of preparation, is foolhardy at best. Browsing and researching gear has a purpose, but if it’s a substitute for actually moving about, then you’re doing it wrong.

Things can facilitate our activities, such as a game to spend time with everyone after a meal, or the compass or paper map to not be reliant on AllTrails app on your phone on your next hike. But the point should be doing. Move. Move together. Just take the time to move.

I have been using the same backpack for 12 years now. The pack has outlasted two patches I put on. Natalie knows that I will make a beeline for the backpacks at every outfitter, but I don’t buy a new one because my pack works and hasn’t let me down yet. One day it will. To do so too soon would be wasteful, plus I would rather just take my stuff and go. Don’t overcomplicate this.

Go outside. Your old footwear is just fine. Your daypack will carry your essentials. Have fun. Be well.

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