Yeah, that is not a question, really. Now that I am finally at an age where I don’t care if people think I am dorky, I will openly admit to loving school supplies. I don’t care so much for gym strip or even the new clothes, it was always about the stationary. Pens, pencils, scribblers, erasers, notebooks, 3-hole punch paper and even the new geometry set. All of it was awesome to me.

First there was the list. I imagined the home room teacher carefully detailing all the things we would need for the whole year. By reading the list, I was letting my imagination run wild with possibilities. Imagine what it means to be elevated to three binders, up from duotang folders! I loved the snap of the rings, pages going in and out. Everything so neat and tidy.

When I was in the early grades of primary school, my family lived in a small town. The yearly lists were sent to the drug store on main street. We knew it was time to buy our back to school kits because the large brown paper bags were neatly lined up on a shelf at the front of the store. Stapled to the front was the hand-written list. The list might have been photocopied, but the big block letters of the grade level had been hand colored.

The only problem with brown paper bags was the mystery of what was in inside? On one hand, there was a sense of anticipation. We could not wait to get our packages home and see what was inside. On the other hand, we were to discover that every bag for a particular grade contained the exact same things. Nobody was better or worse off for the school supplies they had at their disposal. That was the seventies, when we didn’t care so much about consumer goods.

Forty years later, shopping for my daughter’s school supplies, the exercise had turned into an expensive form of one up man ship. Your status in the classroom was higher or lower depending on what brand of felt pens you had. I still don’t know what they did with those supplies because the best artwork which came home was done with wax crayons. I felt a sadness for my child, a loss of innocence, living in a world where brands and status has penetrated the inner reaches of the classroom.

Still, the idea of back to school stationery supply shopping has a charm to it. If I find myself in one of the big box stores at the right time of year, it is fun to walk the aisles and see all the stuff which has been put out for the season. This is a big time of year for those retailers. I can see they have created special offers to entice impulse purchases. I mean who doesn’t want a leopard printed pencil box? Special magnetic wire bins to customize the inside of your locker? Binders with zippers, pockets and sleeves? A family could spend a fortune by letting their children run amok.

Over the years, we amassed quite an inventory of school supplies at home. The dictionary/thesaurus combination which didn’t appear to be opened even once. Various phases of pencil box fashions. Loads of crayons and pens. Even unused scribblers. At the beginning, I was able to slip these back into circulation for the next school year, only buying new what we didn’t already have. But, that became a status problem in the classroom. My kids wanted new from the store, just like all their friends. Gone were the days of taking what you get from a brown paper sack.

I sound like a senior citizen, reminiscing about the old days. The way things used to be, was a far better time, of course. If we could only turn back the clock of time, life would be far better. Instead, we ditched the need for school supplies completely last year. In our travel year, the only thing my kids needed was a laptop and a cell phone. Even with a poor internet connection we could tether to data on our local SIM cards. That is a far cry from what other students were doing in a regular classroom.

After experiencing the world as your classroom, the idea of shopping for school supplies seems rather quaint. Not to mention that our local high school doesn’t issue the course list until the week before the start of the first semester. There is no point in stocking up, might as well only buy what is specifically required. The fun stuff like colored pencils and sketch books will not be required. Those days are gone.

I think we lose something by becoming completely digital and forgoing all the creative hand work. It becomes another skill we have to try to keep alive at home. Which is not an easy thing to do. I’ve settled for cooking. One night a week, each child unpacks a brown bag with all the dinner supplies in it. If they are efficient, the meal can be finished in 40 minutes. This lesson is a triumph for the whole family. Quality nourishing food, served family style, covering a wide range of taste profiles. I call that a win-win.

Join me in this creative journey. I am on a mission to start a global movement, focusing on the importance of creativity in our daily lives. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to: Christine@dailycreatives.com #creaspatreat

My creative year:
: : Developing, testing and enjoying a life I don’t need a vacation from while working in an office and commuting on public transit! 
: : This is where my ideas for creaspatreat will come to life. Don’t miss any of it by joining us!
: : Check out new projects on my youtube channel called creative wandering. #dailycreatives

Published books:
: : “Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power

Would you like a free download of….
: : The first chapter from Fruitless at 40 and
: : My tried and true packing list, developed from long-term, around the world travel?
: : Join us!

Daily Creatives Resources:
: : Travel changes a person
: : Consumer anarchy and the Buyerarchy of needs
: : Teach women, invest in a community
: : Crea.spa.treat. what do you think it means?
: : Living in stress, moving to relaxation, looking for ikigai

Christine Westermark

I am a world traveller, lucky enough to have a loving family who support my dreams to learn, create and give back by designing creative content which enables a lifestyle we don't need a vacation from.

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Who doesn’t love school supplies!

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