I am in month 8 of this no new stuff, no shopping, fasting of things thing. In some ways it has been far easier than I thought it would be. I have never been a real shopper so I have not missed it for its own sake. I have a ton more stuff than I need anyway so any time I feel deprived I am able to give myself a pep talk, that generally I listen to. With a few notable exceptions, which I have discussed in the past and whose company will be added to below, I have been mostly satisfied with my lot.
But when I look deeper I realize this experiment has exposed in me some profound dependence on purchasing my way out of boredom, buying for the sake of convenience when what I have would work with just a little effort at adjustment and perhaps most convicting of all . . . I have come to see how shopping can sometimes be a mindless activity when nothing is either needed or wanted simply because it has become part of an accepted routine.
Let me preface this all by saying that I get that these are all the first worldiest of all the first worldy problems.
I took my girls to Maine for an overnight and when we went out to dinner and explore the beach by a cove
we came upon a cute little touristy enclave filled with . . . shops. I was up for poking around and they were excited, but before we went in anywhere I reminded them I couldn’t buy anything. For me . . . or them. Now, their fast is over so they have, as I shared in my last post, made several purchases in the past month or so. But they sort of forgot that my not being able to buy anything meant I couldn’t buy anything for them either. This did not go over well.
“But we’re on vacation!”
So this was where one of my convicting revelations came. I hadn’t realized, or paid attention to the fact that on vacation we sometimes shop just to shop and buy things we don’t need and barely want just because we’re on vacation and it’s what we do. Sort of cyclical, but anyway. And it was true this is what we do. Looking back on vacations this truth was born out and this pattern of incredulity and consternation at my inability to shop repeated itself on our family vacation a few weeks later. Why and how had shopping become a vacation activity? Why, when we were already doings something fun, spending money, had more activity available to us than usual had we chosen to make shopping a priority “to do”?? Now I don’t mean to demonize shopping and say it is something one should never do on vacation (or anytime) I was just surprised at how it had worked its way in to our routine so thoroughly.
Now to those exceptions I spoke of. There are definitely a few things I would be buying now if I were able.
My cell phone case is just about done
and I can’t keep my credit cards in it as everything falls out of those little slots – pretty sure I stuffed them too full in its early life. Kind of a pain, but not unbearable (I did acknowledge the first worldiness of it all didn’t I?)
Also sharpies! Yes, sharpies. Ok I love sharpies and I use them for everything. Work stuff, organizing stuff, labeling stuff etc. I color coordinate our family calendar so everyone has a different color and you need a really sharp one for this and so I zealously guard them from my kids who always want to use them for their crafts. Crafts!! But to no avail. I am down to the bad colors.
You know the colors they thrown in the pack and you wonder why they even make those colors? Yeah that’s all I have left so this fall my family’s going to be squinting at the calendar trying to see what’s going on as our activities will be in yellow, light pink and some weird peach color. You get it.
Finally, my Fit Bit.
So I have neither the latest nor the most ancient of Fit Bits. It’s a few years old but I wear it every day and it has been a useful tool to help me keep moving since my job involves a lot of sitting (like right now). I don’t need it, it’s kind of a security blanket at this point I think I know round abouts what 12,000 steps (my rarely achieved goal) feels like, but I like to be celebrated with the fireworks on my wrist. However . . . I lost my charger!! It’s gone. Like I looked everywhere and nope, nothing. Fit Bits last for a while without being charged but today was the day . . it quit. We’re done. No more Fit Bit. Le sigh.
So as you can see there is a lot of suffering here, but also learning!