Blog, Minimalism

#buynothing2015: the hurdles and turning a corner

It’s nearly the end of March. Wow, that time has flown. The year is a quarter of the way through, and I’m just now settling in to the comfortable stage of buying nothing.

The Hurdles

I’m not going to lie. Far from being the rose-tinted experience I thought it would be, this year so far has been hard. Instead of frittering away the blue-skied days with whimsy and lightness, planting, crafting and mending without a care in the world, buying nothing hung over my head like a cloud.

I felt shackled by chains of my own making. I got down, walking past shops, browsing beautiful items online. So many things stopped working, or broke down. Until a few weeks ago I was ready to sack it. Since last time, my circumstances have changed dramatically. Back in 2012, I was working one job, available 24/7 but earning a decent amount of money. I had more savings than I knew what to do with and so this ‘minimalism’, this adventure, felt like a choice. I’m not regretting choosing this path, far from it. But I feel that, those 3 years ago, having the freedom to choose made it a very different experience from today.

So what changed? I have to just admit it-money had a hold on me and man, it’s so hard to quit it. I know I shouldn’t but I sometimes couldn’t help but focus on lack rather than abundance. I work part time, I am self-employed, I live paycheck to paycheck. Some days, it’s liberating. Some days, it doesn’t even matter. Those days are the best, distracted from the norm by some beautiful scenery, by music that just gets into your soul, by joy, by experience.

Other days, society, that quiet beastie, curled and snaked its grey way back into my mind, and whispered in my head. “Money is the dream”, it said. “You need to feel bad about not being able to buy things”. “You are a failure”, sneered that nasty voice. The only way is money. The only way is consuming.

And so on and on it went, the cycle. Feeling inspired by buying nothing one day, feeling frustrated the next. And then suddenly….the voice went quiet. I relaxed. I let go of the self-made ‘pressure’ of not buying anything, and just realised…I don’t care.

Turning a corner

That weight of lack left my shoulders in seconds. My soul breathed and stretched and filled the space left by worry. It smiled knowingly, I’m sure it did.
I don’t care about buying things. And even more amazingly, I don’t care about not buying things. I know I can overcome temptation. I don’t even really get tempted. My inner voice smiles and tells me I’m choosing not to buy anything this year. And I smile along with it and walk on by.

The pressure of buying, and of not buying, is removed. It takes time to get out of the habit, and surprisingly, I thought I’d have no trouble this year. After all, I’ve done it before, right? After all, I call myself a Minimalist…
Habit is hard. Habits relearned, reinforced, are tough to quit.

I accepted I was finding it hard and suddenly, buying nothing became easy. I’m not sure why, but I think letting go of the pressure left it, once again, as a choice. Just like before, removing that expectation, that relentless worry about not buying things…well, it made the whole world of difference. I don’t look at #buynothing2015 as not being allowed to buy stuff. I choose not to buy things for now.

Making that decision and learning to respect my own choices was a learning curve. But now I’ve turned that corner, I can see the road ahead. I’m leaving that struggle in the past now…and I’m choosing a simpler, mindful journey for the rest of the year.

I can’t wait.

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