It’s halfway through 2015’s challenge to buy nothing new for a year. And truthfully, that’s come around pretty quickly.
The plan for #buynothing2015 was by now to have miraculously learned to sew and mend, to be growing a lot of my own vegetables, be cycling to work every day and generally be an ethical superhero. But, as all the best laid plans tend to do, this has gone slightly awry. Not always in a bad way, as journeys change. Paths veer off at a tangent. And we keep on learning, we keep on keeping on.
So, yes, the shiny plans have gone awry, and by this I mean that really, none of the above seems to have happened in the massive way I expected. I thought this time around would be entirely different, that I’d find buying nothing a doddle. Strangely though, the opposite has been true. Somehow, it’s been harder buying nothing this time around that before. I wonder why?
I’ve been thinking about this and I believe a massive temptation is my current part time work at a charity warehouse, surrounded by thousands of amazing items at incredibly good value for money. On many occasions I’ve been using need instead of want in my vocabulary and each time, being hyper aware of it. My car broke down, and I learned to stop feeling guilty about buying essentials. You could argue that a car isn’t an essential. But keeping appointments with clients located far from each other made my decision for me. We have to use what is right for us, for our situation.
I think 6 months in is a good time to reflect and reset. I started off well, coasting through the first few months. Over time, it’s been hard to resist the temptation of so many £1.99 pairs of shoes… but feeling deprived isn’t the point of this year.
I acknowledge that this challenge is about learning. I need to respect that and let go of any feelings of frustration, guilt, woe is me, whatever. I will embrace experience, not fight against it. It’s a journey of a lifetime and much, much more than it seems on the surface.
Buying nothing? From the outside it looks like fun, like hard work, like deprivation, like freedom. But to actually do this, to actually experience all the life-changing realisations that go along with it… it’s a raw, powerful experience. It’s not just about taking a break from consumerism. Buying nothing shows you your truth, your drive, your being. What makes up that soul that is your self?
Buying nothing the first time around gave me a glimpse and set off a chain reaction that’s allowed me to change the work I do, change the way I think, and set the course of my life off on a most interesting and exciting tangent. But repeating the challenge this year is a whole different ball game.
I’ve been able to build on all of the little sparks of inspiration that flickered into life those few years ago. Buying nothing has allowed me to learn about what drives me, what I’m passionate about and what my strengths really are. Going deeper than the superficial, it’s a shift in life that is liberating beyond belief. Taking out that crutch of consumerism has given me the space, this year, to start to enjoy creating, get involved in causes I care about, read more, learn more, do more.
So, 6 months down the line, I’ve learned that buying nothing is still a hard thing to do, but the benefits outweigh any lingering doubts I’ve had ten times over. I’m more forgiving to myself and surer of what drives me. Taking that leap outside of the consumer world, into this unknown is challenging but at the same time, refreshing and truly brilliant. Even when I feel I’m struggling, I know that it’s a lesson I have the opportunity to learn.
I’m looking forward to the next 6 months with anticipation. I love this journey.