I sit in Mavis, my worn, comfy chair, purchased from a charity shop after falling in love with her tattered, faded ‘project’ upholstery, fake aged armrests, and aura of warmth. The linen curtains are closed now, a veil against the ink black night and jagged winds that shake and rattle the branches of the birch outside. The heating bubbles and knocks, echoing in the space of this old, old house, and projects a slight warmth from the old radiator a few feet away.
I wrap a blanket around my knees and settle in, a borrowed book resting on a small wooden side table, another charity shop find, now decorated with a backgammon board of swords and dragon scales. My eyes relax as I breathe in and realise I love my simple life. The peace lily on the table shimmers in its own simple way, just life, just being, just growing. That’s enough.
I’m living in a current nostalgia, rekindling my love for the items I already own, avoiding shops, avoiding advertising, avoiding tv programmes. Not making a conscious effort but happily settling into my new-old life where these things aren’t a priority, aren’t part of my vision, my being. It’s a month into #buynothing2015 and I’m loving the familiar joy, that simple, pure happiness of not being distracted by having to buy. I feel lightness and luck at filling my life not with mindless purchases, but with curated, created content.
Letting go of the need to consume creates a space for more. A space to fill. But with what?
Well, this is the beautiful part. Fill that space with whatever you want. Learning. Love. Music. Reading. Religion. Adventure. Relaxation. When we remove the ball and chain of consuming, the world becomes limitless. Not buying new clothes means we don’t have to update our wardrobes every season, we don’t have to replace items because they’re looking a ‘bit worn’. Not buying new clothes gives us the opportunity to learn to fix and mend. It gives us the chance and clear space to look for meaning greater than transitional trends. It gives us a new way to appreciate craftsmanship and longevity.
At the end of the first week of 2015, I wondered if I could get through this year. Everything seemed to crash at once, breaking, running out. I was surrounded by things I needed, slashed sale prices, a thousand emails in my inbox, colourful, loud, urgent. I must buy now, before it’s too late.
But, of course, time went on. The urges faded and I remembered to treat myself with respect. Advertisers are paid hundreds of thousands to mess with your mind, to do every last thing in their power to make you spend more on stuff we don’t even think about. Blind purchases. No wonder we’re all spending so much. No wonder so may of us are getting tired of this endless cycle. No wonder we’re starting to look for another way. And in the end, I knew I didn’t need anything. I didn’t even really want anything.
All of my things are my favourite things. Taking the focus away from the ‘shiny shiny’, the lure of ‘brand new’…it brings a new way to see the things we already own. Suddenly, a jacket isn’t just a jacket. It’s our only jacket and we open a new space in our mind and run our fingers down the fabric, the threads, the crumbs in the pocket and think about how we can preserve it, love it, use it until the last thread falls apart in our hands. And then we think of how to fix, repurpose, recycle. Not buying anything new gives us newness in a different way.
It gives us a new respect, it gives us a new love.
It gives us a new world.