365 Day Shopping Detox

20160411_122720.jpgExcuses.

It’s about excuses and needing to rid myself of them. It’s also about the filling of a void without confronting it- this needs to change.

But first and foremost it’s about setting a good example for my kids.

I’m a mom of two and it’s no longer about me.

I do not want to model turning to consumerism as a way to cope with emotions and issues. Ideally I would model how to face head on the emotional ups and downs that life brings in a healthy, balanced way.

I never considered myself much of a shopper. I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on clothes at one go…in fact I rarely buy clothes. But I do turn to purchasing as a way of distracting me from deep seated issues. I know this because when I hit “add to cart” and purchase a book, or, most recently, a ukulele, I am experiencing a momentary “high”, a hopefulness of fulfilling some longed for perfect outcome…for example, singing coombya with my kids with my ukulele…or running 5 miles a day with my new running shoes…or featuring my lovely legs with my new leggings. These things don’t come to fruition. The initial jolt of excitement from the “acquisition” is the beginning and the end. The actual arrival of the item is the let-down, the reality and the realization that this changes nothing because it was a “cosmetic fix”, a momentary elation founded on nothing of substance.

I have never been able to get behind complete sacrifice. I like to “treat” myself, enjoy life and what it has to offer. But this has become a crutch. “Treats” come more and more frequently. I even feel deprived when I can’t get what I want. I am not very good at letting go of the idea of acquiring an item once it is in my mind to get it. I can come up with all sorts of reasons why I will use it and why I in fact need it.

The result is that I am surrounded by “stuff”  and this “stuff” stresses me out. I feel guilt at times for the things I have. I also feel overwhelmed, suffocated by the clutter.

What is it that compels me to want to acquire when I have more than enough? I don’t even use the stuff that I have to it’s fullest potential and the “waste” causes me stress. Talk about a crazy cycle and the  un-examined life.

I want to change this. I want to sufficiently challenge myself so as to have to directly confront my inner world.

The rules are slowly forming in my head.Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  1. I may purchase food for the household. My mother in-law suggested perhaps a budget so as not to overindulge. I think this is a great idea so that I don’t start buying unnecessary “gourmet” food items which could become an outlet for spending.
  2. I may purchase only necessities and if there is any question about it being a necessity I must consult my husband (this is to prevent my pretty clever logic shenanigans that help me talk myself into purchases).
  3. I will not purchase anything else that feeds my vanity, support an illusion of an idealized life,adds to household clutter, is something I can borrow or barter for. This includes toys and books for the kids. The exception is birthdays and Christmas but a set limit of one choice item that my husband and I agree on. Gifts for others must be something I can make from the things I already have.
  4. We will not eat out unless 1. It’s a date night 2. My husband deems I am definitely in need of a break because I look frayed at the edges.
  5. If I make an “illegal” purchase, I must return it and/or give away five personal items to charity.
  6. When I am overwhelmed by the need to purchase, or the feeling of being deprived I will 1. meditate 2. watch documentaries of third world country conditions to remind myself of my privileged position and distinct 1st world problem. 3. I will list the things I am grateful for. 4. I will tidy my home. 5. I will examine the feeling of need/want/envy without judgement and wait for it to pass. 5. Touch every purchased item I already have in the house and thank it for its service to me. If I discover something unused and unneeded I will give it away to charity. 6. I will make art 7. Read one of the many books on my list.
  7. I will blog about my experience on a daily basis when possible so as to draw on community support and to have accountability.

I know that there will be scenarios and situations that I haven’t thought through in advance, so the rules will expand over time to encompass them. In all things, if there is a question, I will consult the hubs as he is man of great wisdom and reason.

If you are curious to see the initial spark of inspiration for this challenge see this post from my mommy blog.

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