Some blog posts that we write are spontaneous and quick. Some are light hearted or practical but some…… are a while in the making. They sit in the corners of Team Pugh’s minds and like tennis balls get bashed over the net until finally they have a place and sense of direction and become a blog post. Today’s post is one of these posts. These posts are usually the most difficult to formulate and indeed add photos to (that’s why we’ve simply used some photos of our day) as they are not ‘just’ craft projects, recipes or trips to the market. They are a little deeper than these everyday posts.
For a while now it has been running through Becksie’s head what a difference it has made to go supermarket free and what she has concluded she will now endeavour to share with you. Please be prepared for this to be a complicated web of words which may or may not make any sense. Here goes. Going supermarket free is way more than not stepping foot in Sainsbury’s or Asda. It is way more than making friends with local food producers. It is way more than eating lovely food. It is way more than saving money. Going supermarket free is for us choosing freedom and a new way to think.
Now this seems a little dramatic and a little deep but after many hours of trying to formulate this post we have concluded that going supermarket free has given us a new kind of freedom. A freedom from something we didn’t know we weren’t free from. It has opened up our minds and given us a new ability to make a choice to think in a different way.
Just as our decision to go supermarket free was triggered by many things the ideas presented in this post have been triggered by a few things – parts of a jigsaw. Becksie recently did an interview about our year without supermarkets and was asked the following question ‘what has going supermarket free meant to you’. The immediate answer is all of the stuff we regularly blog about, eating lovely things, saving money, shopping in beautiful places meeting lovely folk but this question also commands a much deeper response. This challenge has meant that every aspect of our lives has changed. It has changed for the better. This has been a journey of discovery in which we have found happiness and the ability to view the world in a different way. An ability to see beyond the normal and the everyday.
Our old reality was going to the supermarket. We are not saying there is anything wrong with going to the supermarket (this project has never been a hate campaign against supermarkets) but going to the supermarket was something we did because it’s the done thing. It’s what you do. It’s easy or at least one assumes it’s the easiest option. This challenge has made us see differently and although this project has of course changed our shopping habits it’s also changed us as we now feel more in control of our choices. Not sure if this ramble is making any sense but…….. we shall keep rambling.
We shall now try to give some examples. The same person asked Becksie why Sainsbury’s was our old supermarket of choice. The initial answer was we felt it was the most convenient choice for us with products that suited our needs. Upon brief and terrifying reflection from the perspective of a supermarket free shopper Becksie realised in horror and sheepishly admitted that the real reason she felt loyalty towards Sainsbury’s was……. because for a long time it was endorsed by Jamie Oliver. Becksie admires Jamie Oliver for his food and campaigning and had subconsciously decided that it was the best supermarket for her. In other words without even being aware she had been pulled in by the clever world of advertising. Now once again this is a little bit dramatic, after all when we shopped at a supermarket we needed to shop somewhere so being lulled in by the adverts isn’t on the surface a harmful thing. But…….. on a deeper level our ability to chose had been tampered with and that is a little scary when you look at it in the cold light of day.
In short our supermarket experiment has given us the freedom to not only take control of our shopping but has enabled us to think slightly differently and regain some control. Regaining our control has made us happy and feel more comfortable in our skin which in turn has had a huge impact on our general wellbeing and we hope has made us become better people. This post was 75% formulated and then this morning the final piece of the jigsaw dropped into place. This morning one of our lovely twitter followers bought a video to our attention that explained in a slightly different way the sentiments behind this post. What was incredible was that the video is focused around a supermarket.
The video is called ‘This is Water’ and it is a speech given by David Foster Wallace. The speech was made at a college graduation and we really wished it had been made at ours (instead we got Roy Wood from Wizard and cannot remember what he said but it was probably something about wishing it could be Christmas everyday). This speech is quite frankly breathtaking and the advice dispensed is extremely wonderful. It somehow reflects what 6 months of supermarket freeness have made us realise.
The speech starts with the following quote “There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” – David Foster Wallace ‘This is Water’.
It is really worth a watch and can be viewed here.
Somehow in a way we can’t quite articulate, this advice is in parallel with what our new lifestyle is making us realise. We have literally chosen a new reality, a new way of thinking and the freedom to make a choice has brought us a happiness we did not see coming.
‘The real value of a real education [has] almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:
‘This is water.’
‘This is water.’
David Foster Wallace ‘This is Water’