Today is my 31st birthday. I’ve completed my 30th year challenge of not buying clothes for one year. It was difficult sometimes, but to be honest, it was a lot easier than I anticipated. Here are a few lessons learned:
Intentionality. I know I mentioned this before, but it’s the number one lesson I’ve learned this past year. I’ve become much more intentional with how I live. Not that I don’t still enjoy being spontaneous once in a while, I do, but I mean intentional in a broad sense of living with a purpose. I base my consumption more on need, than on want. I make sure it will serve a purpose, sometimes that purpose is simply spending a fun day with my family (we all need to have fun now and then), other times it’s strictly necessity.
Simplicity. I admit that in the past when I had spare time I would sometimes fill it by going shopping. It was a waste of time, truly. This last year, whenever I had spare time it was spent, writing, reading a good book, working in the garden, hiking, exercising or going to the beach with my family etc. All of these simple things brought me much more satisfaction than a new outfit ever did.
Embracing Imperfection. Since I couldn’t replace damaged clothing, I learned to be okay with a little stain or hole in a few articles of clothing. I learned to not care so much. This attitude overflowed to other aspects of my life as well, like standing up for what I believe in, whether or not it’s popular within my circle of community. We are all imperfect people with different life experiences and opinions and in the end I don’t care how I look, as long as I can extend God’s love to the people around me. Embracing imperfection has helped me stop comparing myself to others and accept myself the way I am. It’s incredible the amount of freedom that comes when you don’t care about trends or about making everyone and their mom like you.
Here’s a few of the things I did buy this last year:
- New sock and undies.
- I bought myself a red beaded necklace for Easter, because I wanted a pop of color to celebrate the day.
- A couple weeks ago I bought a new skirt in preparation for a wedding reception I’ll be attending the day after my birthday. I won’t wear it until then.
- A new pair of sandals ($3 on sale!) because our kitten decided my old ones were a good chew toy.
- Yesterday, I bought a new pair of shoes because all of my old pairs (except for my boots) are falling apart, literally.
So, that’s it. In the last year I managed to only buy a few pieces of clothing and mainly out of necessity.
Now, it’s another year and I’ve decided to give myself a new challenge. I think it’s important to continue to learn as we age, I never want to become stagnant in life, so this year my challenge is to write everyday. I thought of the things I’m passionate about and where I want to improve and landed on writing. I enjoy it and hate it at the same time. I enjoy the result of writing, i.e. processing my emotions and having a record of things I’ve learned and experienced, but I sometimes hate the actual sitting and writing part. This challenge is about self-discipline and trying to be better at something. I’m sure there will be days when I only pen a couple lines in my journal, but nonetheless, I’ll be saving a thought or idea for when my creative juices are flowing.
Originally written on 8/30/2012