Year Without Shopping June Update

On Waste and wasting:

Today is trash day on my street.  I look at the heaps of waste we all push to the edge of our yards for the trucks to haul away next to blue boxes piled high with recycling and I think about how very much we throw away. How much I have thrown away over the years.  Something doesn’t work anymore or something doesn’t fit anymore or it’s just not my style anymore.  Not all the things I get rid of end up on the street corner but it made me consider how much stuff passes through my home and onto other places whether that be a landfill, a donation bin or a recycling plant.

One of the many things this shopping fast has done is make me more conscious of waste as I get better, by necessity, at using what I have.  For instance, my daughters want a laundry basket in their room for their dirty clothes.  This is a great idea from my perspective as it might prevent them from throwing their clothes on the floor as opposed to making the long journey to the room next door where the washer and dryer reside.  But we can’t buy a new basket so what do we do?  Repurpose a hollow end table-like piece of furniture that I bought on a whim years ago which has sat in a closet almost since then.  And like magic they have what they need, an old piece of furniture has new purpose (landfill avoided) and I have saved money which can be better used elsewhere. Now hopefully this doesn’t teach me that my careless buying can have a happy ending. What I am going for here is repurposing before buying so I don’t end up with more for the trash man or even the donation bin.  I want to begin asking myself – What can I reuse instead of my wallet being my first answer to every question.  Since the fast began we’ve come up with many solutions like this and I am thankful for the opportunity to reuse old things, to rethink how we solve “problems” and to reconsider our contribution to that waste pile on the corner.

On Gifts and Gifting:

Even though I did carve out a gifting exception to the fast we have tried to not use it and instead give “gifts” that are not things.  So for Mother’s Day we got creative with our gifts.  We took some mason jars we had laying around, painted them and filled them with pieces of paper on which we wrote words of encouragement.  We did one of these for my Mom and my mother-in-law.  They were big hits!  So much so that my kids made one for me too. I loved it.  When I need a pick-me-up I just go to my jar and get some sweet words. They also gave me a spa day – where they painted my toes, gave me a foot rub.  Great gift!

On Scarcity and Abundance:

Something I have been noticing that has resulted from the fast is a shift in my perception of what is scarcity and what is abundance.

I am entering the summer with three pairs of flip flops.  Formerly I would have wanted a few more pairs.  What if I need a brown pair, or a fancier black pair – because coordinating flip flops is a thing!  I would likely have picked up another pair or two by now.  Just to be safe. Clearly I had or have a flip flop addiction I get that. But now I feel like my three pairs are more than enough and I am so thankful for them. I know I have what I need and I am glad.  This sense of abundance where I know I formerly would have felt scarcity has begun to creep into other areas as well. I wonder a little at this.  Why has my self-imposed inability to consume made me feel like I have more?  Is it simply a matter of being able to appreciate what I have since I know it is all I’ll have for a while yet, or even more simply being more aware of what I have since I need to make it last?  Not sure, but going to keep an eye on this.  It’s a good feeling.

 

In other news, the rest of my family are ending their fast in a few weeks (they had signed on for 6 months).  I am hoping for an in depth debrief and processing of thoughts, feelings and impact from each of them.  So . . .  I should get at least one sentence about how it affected them!  Will share that when the time comes.

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