Buh-Bye Buying

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Four weeks ago I was at Target perusing the aisles, as is the norm for any female over 10 when at Target. I happened upon a severely discounted Dyson cordless vacuum. Because it was 75% off and I didn’t own one like it yet, I put it in my cart. Ignoring the inner-voice reminding me that I already own two, working, Dyson vacuums, but, they had cords. This one didn’t. I called my mom for should I?/ shouldn’t I? but she didn’t answer. I went back and forth in my head and eventually put the vacuum back and bought a $9 broom.

I’ve been a long-time consumer. I like nice things and buying nice things makes me briefly happy. The problem is: having nice things doesn’t make me a nicer person. Buying new shoes doesn’t make me more fun to be around. I’ve been a happy, self-inflicted, victim of American capitalism. Having the latest and greatest does not make me a better person in any part of the spectrum and here’s the real truth– buying things (generally) does not make you happier so what do we buy the things we don’t NEED?

There are some things that I’ve bought that have made my life easier or more fun- maybe those are okay, but I have now made it to a place where buying things is second nature: She moves, she loves, she buys.

I reached the point of disgust in the last week of April and vowed that May would be the month of not buying. Starting on May 1st, I wouldn’t buy anything new that wasn’t a need. I mean nothing. If it was a desperate want I allowed myself to buy it if I could find it used, meaning thrift stores and garage sales are still fair game but only for things that are actual needs and not because it’s a good deal.

It’s been just over two weeks into the month, the halfway mark. I’ve adjusted by ordering all my groceries online to prevent impulse purchases, I have yet to step foot in Target, when I have free time I spend it on something deliberate, if I need coffee I try to wait until I get home to make my own.

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I have broken the rule twice. Both because of special occasions and with limitations.

I expected to feel restricted, instead, I feel free. Free from the pressure of society and advertising, free of the restrictions of my bank account, lesser a slave to money and what it means in our society today.

Giving up buying has shifted some things in the way I think. I’m sure I’ll elaborate as I go on but as for these two weeks, like a diet, weights have been lifted by cutting things out and it feels so good I’m not even anxious for the end. Instead, I think I’ll add another month, this time as a group.

Before the end of May, I’ll update with a more thorough list of how to avoid the spending and shopping hole. If you want to join us, you should! It’s the best kind of life-diet I’ve experienced in ages. I’d suggest you begin preparing your heart and mind now, the week before May started I did make a couple last-minute purchases in order to carry me through, and while I don’t regret them, I know they also alleviated any temptation I may have experienced in those first few days. So say goodbye to mindless shopping and buying and let’s make June a month free of consumer-void.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Looking for Fun

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A month or so ago a friend who babysits for me was telling me how she took a kid that she babysits to gymnastics and was sitting in the bleachers listening to all the moms talk about their house renovations.

The next day I myself was surrounded by (other) moms who were talking about their house renovations.

When did we become so boring that our daily life seems to revolve around our homes? To be fair it’s where we spend most of our time and is a fair representation of ourselves (sometimes, I am not as messy as my house can be) but it is no who we are. Your American contemporary-modern home with concrete countertops and glass subway tile backsplash is gorgeous but it does not make me think any more or less of you. Same goes for your hunter orange, “hasn’t been updated since 1973 but the dishwasher works” kitchen, I think you are awesome as well. Unless your home is filled with 36 cats I will find something I admire about it, houses are cool, homes are wonderful.

In ways our millennial love for minimalism has allowed us to move our focus from simple consumerism to hyper focus on how and what to improve on the few things we want to spend money and energy on. You don’t need all the books anymore but you sure as hell need that shiplap.

My house reflects my style, my preferences, it also reflects my baking experiments and my children’s love of art on both appropriate and inappropriate canvases. My home and myself are unfinished and full of potential. My home however, is not who I am, it may define my style but it does not define ME.

Caught up in our own home renovations Chad and I looked into getting our single pane bow windows replaced in the front of our house. This is no small expense. We still have our quote hanging on the inside of the cabinet and for 2 days we were excited about this change in our house. After the install we wouldn’t be getting any noise from outside, less draft/energy loss and it would be more aesthetically pleasing. Six years from now we would put the house on the market and make some of that money back but our excitement about the windows would be long gone.

After the 2 days of excitement over new windows (this is 31 y’all) the idea of a trip/vacation crept back into my mind an after a brief discussion we had a change of heart. Instead of putting all of that money into windows we will put it towards a trip, an experience. We won’t be getting any money from a trip back as we would in selling a house with new windows but when our time on earth is up for either of us we won’t be thinking back to that time we picked out windows together.

This brings me to the big point:. houses, kids, when did life get so… not fun? It’s beautiful and there are fun parts but I find myself looking for rest or finishing chores more than fun. I’ve been so caught up in chasing my kids and attempting to get enough sleep that I forgot what the rest of life looks like. I’ve started a new chapter where life is going to revolve around fun (and Jesus) for me and my family, basing my decisions on the questions “is it fun?’ and “can I make it fun” (okay and also “is it safe” because I am a mom now).  This means choosing taking my boys swimming instead of finally finishing laundry, concerts instead of countertops and making memories over sweeping floors.

So starting (really about 2 weeks ago) now, I am in search of fun. Sometimes my kids will have to tag along with me and there will be times where they will inevitably make it not fun, the weather could turn, circumstances will destroy bridges to fun but I will pursue joy and fun and happiness. I’m done being stagnant. Though I will still lust after that mid-century modern home on Berry Pine Road. (and try to update with a pic soon).