The What and Who of Meandering About

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Known as a Consumer?

"We are called 'consumers'," Jennifer said, as she looked up from the book she was reading in preparation for teaching a college class on ecommerce.  "We are called 'consumers'," she said again in an indignant tone.

And I sat there dumbfounded.  Hearing this word stand on its own stirred up a mixture of emotions and thoughts that I couldn't even put into words.

Is that how I am known?  Am I a consumer?

Consumer: that is how I am known by advertisers, marketers, and salespersons.
Consumer: that is who the economy counts on me to be.
Consumer: that is who I am.

And seldom have I had more disdain for an identifier than I do for that one.

Consumer - noun
: one that consumes: as
a : one that utilizes economic goods
b : an organism requiring complex organic compounds for food which it obtains by preying on other organisms or by eating particles of organic matter.


"One that consumes."  

Is that going to be my legacy?  Will that be the epitaph on my tombstone?  "Here lies Brian Shivers, a consumer."  

Is that how all of us are to be known; as consumers?  Or are we going to make sure that we are not categorized so narrowly?  Will we have the courage to be more than "one that consumes"?

These are the questions that haunt me as I think back to the evening when Jennifer first said, "We are called 'consumers'."

On this day and everyday, I refuse to be limited by this tag.  

I long to be an individual who creates.   
I long to be an individual who loves.
I long to be an individual who seeks justice.
I long to be an individual who believes.
I long to be an individual who extends mercy.
I long to be an individual who is transformed by life.
I long to be an individual who is alive.
I long to be an individual.

I will not be known simply as a consumer.  A consumer only leaves waste in their wake.  I believe we have all been created to be more than that.  A person characterized by the notions listed above lives into the legacy of others who have dared to walk that narrow way and leaves a legacy for others to follow.  

Will I have the courage to be more than "one that consumes"?


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