repair don’t replace

Perhaps it has something to do with living in a renaissance city made up of building that easily date back to the 1400’s, but I’ve recently noticed that my thinking in regard to material possessions has shifted slightly. Here, there is value to be found in history and much respect is bestowed on things that have lasted the test of time. No one would imagine taking down an old building in the center in favor of a new one with better designed plumbing, an electrical system, or even an AC system.

It seems that this mode of thinking has even somehow permeated into my daily life. For example, I have nearly worn out the soles of my favorite walking shoes and have been shopping for new shoes for a couple of weeks now. I’m pretty particular when it comes to design so it’s no surprise that it’s taking me a while to find a pair I really like and want to invest in. Seems to be a running theme in my life… from material possessions to work partnerships, and even intimate relationships. What’s funny is that this time around, after weeks of looking at new potential shoes, I opted to stop at my favorite little repair shop today and ask the owner if he can replace the soles on my existing shoes. To my happy surprise he can, and is. For a fraction of the cost of a new pair, I get to keep my favorite shoes a while longer with brand new soles. This exchange got me thinking about the world we live in and society in large today.

How often are we tempted to view things as replaceable or disposable? How easy is it to simply discard worn out things and buy new ones. With just a few simple clicks a new “whatever” can be easily shipped right to our door. And we are bombarded daily with powerful marketing that suggests we need the latest and greatest “whatever” to make us happy. Sure, that new product will bring about some level of happiness, for a few moments. But what then? Obviously, that kind of happiness is very short lived.

What about our relationships? How easy is it today to walk away when we’re not happy and shop online for a new relationship? After all, there is a vast online catalog of potential partners to choose from with just a simple swipe. But is that the answer? Maybe Italy can teach us a little something about respect and mending things, from our beloved possessions to our relationships. Sure, it takes a little more thought and effort to mend, but in my humble opinion it’s well worth it.

I, for one, am very excited to pick up my new old walking shoes tomorrow afternoon.

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