Broken Beds and See-Thru Shorts: Wear it out

My back sucks. Not nearly as much as I’m sure this girl’s back now sucks, but sucks nonetheless.

So, for the sake of my sore back, and after much deliberation and hesitation I finally broke down and bought a new mattress last week. If you’re a regular on this blog you’ll know by now how much I don’t like buying new stuff. So the decision to get a new mattress did not come easily.

And trust me when I tell you, I needed a new mattress. You know that expression “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”? Well, I have a bad habit of taking the “wear it out” part to an unhealthy extreme.

I'm pretty sure I've had that brown blanket at the foot of the bed since I was a kid too.

Case in point: my old mattress. I had it since 2006. And like most of the things I own, I got it used. I’m not sure how long my friend owned it before I took possession, but I do recall seeing it throughout our university years. And I’m pretty sure some of the mattress coils where already collapsed at that point.

And that’s nothing! The mattress I had before that was the one I was conceived on. Shudder.

Let’s move on (because I’m getting nauseous).

Another example: a pair of swimming trunks I’d been using up until a couple years ago and had owned since I was a teenager. In fact, knowing our family, they were probably hand-me-downs from an older brother. They were so sun-faded and worn out that they were almost white, a far cry from the navy blue I remember them being as a kid.

I wore them to the beach a couple summers ago and as soon as those threadbare trunks hit the water they were completely see-through. I might as well have been skinny-dipping for the privacy they offered.

There are plenty of other examples from my childhood. As a kid I remember wearing plastic bags over my feet because our winter boots were so full of holes. My brother Nicholas used to walk around the house wearing t-shirts with the entire back and both armpits torn out. My Dad and step-Mom’s last car had 452,000 km on it before they retired it. My grandma still has a plastic sippy cup from when I was a kid, complete with the teeth marks of more than 40 grandkids.

What can I say? It’s in my genes.

Moral of the story: Think twice before agreeing to go to the beach with me.

Moral of the story #2: Admittedly, I tend to take the “wear it out” philosophy too far. But I think Western society is too-often guilty of not taking it far enough. We live in a very disposable culture where we’re constantly told to upgrade our phones and computers and toss last year’s model into the landfill. And ad agencies spend billions of dollars convincing us of all the things we “need”.

I need a bigger house. We need a second car. I need the latest iPad.

And maybe you do. But the next time you find yourself saying you need something, take a moment to really think about it. Consider alternatives. Recalibrate your need vs. wants scale. Challenge your “need” to keep up with the Joneses. Embrace more of a “wear it out” philosophy.

Your wallet, the environment and your peace of mind will thank you.

Got a lesson you learned from one of life’s absurd moments that you want to share? Click here to submit your story.


Funny stories. Good advice. Check out my books, “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” and “Balancing Priorities and Prioritizing Balance”. Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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