While on a thrifting trip upstate in mid July I found myself exhausted. Not physically exhausted but mentally, in a way only unhappy people feel. I remember sitting in the car and saying “shopping doesn’t make me feel happy the way it used to.”
Naomi looked at me puzzled, as we had planned a two day trip which strictly involved shopping and asked what had changed. The answer was simple, yet more complex in ways I could have ever imagined. In that moment it occurred to me that it had lost its mystique and appeal partially because at this point in my life, I have acquired more items than one needs to get through an entire life span. Sure, the items are amazing. Most are unique vintage pieces I cherish and appreciate the artistic, stylistic and historic value of. Despite their beauty and value, and at the end of the day, they have stopped serving the purpose of making me happy and have strictly turned into dead weight.
I took a deep breath and began to tell her about missing that feeling I had as a teen, when I would babysit for weeks at a time and save up just enough money for that special piece I had been pining for. Trouble always was, that by the time I had saved enough money to buy it, the item was already out of style (which may perhaps explain my disdain for trends). I no longer feel satisfied after shopping. I feel guilty, for adding yet another item to my already overstuffed closet, for spending money I could be saving for something far more useful (a conversation about what useful means these days will surely come up in a post this year). So what’s the point of shopping? She asked..If it doesn’t make you happy and you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it! Instead, you should take a year off and see how you feel. BOOM! My eyes lit up and I knew that was my answer. Take a full year off of shopping (some restrictions apply such as undergarments and socks….) and not only watch that savings pile grow, but also figure out new ways to wear the pieces I already own. In the conversation we also discussed what I would do with the money that I estimate I spend a year on shopping, and I suggested putting $500 a month away in a savings account and then doing something either for my own business with it (vintage truck anyone??) or putting it towards an experience (travel). This final chapter of the adventure is to still be determined as I’m sure the answer will become clearer as the days go by.
This challenge was embraced fully as it struck me that besides the obvious upsides, I will now be able to devote my time and energy towards things that are far more important for my life. I will take that time and visit more museums, take classes, start and FINISH cool projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and who knows! Maybe discover new things I love and bring new people and experiences in my life that I may have otherwise missed out on cause I was too busy bidding on Ebay.
I encourage everyone who reads this to absorb how life changing this sort of experience can be, and maybe just for a second.. consider joining me on this endeavor.
Mostly I look forward to sharing my thoughts as the months go by, as I’m sure all this spare time can only lead to some soul searching.
Wish me luck!