I am so mad and frustrated. I have a problem with habitual consumerism, you see. I “shop” to fill my empty time and I shop to relieve stress. In fact, most of us buy things we don’t need and most of us buy something or spend money every single day here in the U.S. of A. I now find myself in a situation that requires a reworking of our budget and spending habits. Er, my spending habits. Which requires a complete overhaul of my mindless habits! Yay!
It’s so crazy how I can be aware of this and still do it…I made a commitment to myself a week or so ago to not buy anything other than necessary food for the rest of the year. It should be simple. And yet I found myself buying a couple things that were not food. I even have a big stash of potential gifts that I hoard so I’m not even super worried about Christmas gifts. I also buy everyone’s Christmas gifts year round. I just love scanning the aisles of merchandise and when I see something that a close friend or family would love, I have a VERY hard time not buying it and putting it in my “gift stash.” More often than not I scan the aisles of thrift stores and the clearance sections of TJMaxx and Marshalls. Luckily because of this, I haven’t bankrupted my family yet. However, the principle has becoming more and more nudgy in the corners of my mind. It’s just not right to buy stuff you don’t need. There are many spiritual guides and texts, both ancient and modern that advise against hoarding possessions. In our modern world it is so hard to escape the constant barrage of “you need this new throw pillow and centerpiece because now it’s autumn!” Or because now it’s bosses day! Or this new pink bra because now it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month! I have so many home decor items just piled in my basement. I buy stuff so frequently and fill so much of my empty time with shopping and internet and internet shopping that I don’t ever manage to display my beautiful treasures!!! I mean, how absurd is that?! One of my main goals is to simplify the kids’ toys and yet I come home from Goodwill with bags and bags of “new to us” toys almost every freaking week. Then gifting occasions arise and I feel embarrassed and materialistic even making wish lists for the kids. Or myself. Like, more?! Now OTHER people are going to give us even MORE stuff that we don’t really “need.” I could do a whole post alone on the weird relationship I have with gifting. It’s like I want to be able to buy everything for everyone but for no one to buy stuff for me because I feel embarrassed of all the stuff I’ve already bought myself! Receiving gifts for me really throws a light on one of my worst habits. I do try to move as much out of the house as I move in…which sort of goes in fits and spurts. But again, it’s the principle here that really is getting under my skin. Or rather, the lack of upholding this principle and the inability to control myself.
I am SO SICK OF IT and disgusted with myself. But these habits are apparently so ingrained that I can’t simply stop. I guess this kind of thing needs addressed like any other addiction, and I think step one is to find a healthy replacement activity. For a while I was successful with reading books. What I really want to do is actually finish all of the projects piled up around the house. I want to stop buying stuff and actually MAKE the things I’ve already got piled up in every room. What happened this last time is I had a stressor shatter my resolve during a period of burnout. I had been feverishly purging possessions and working on projects and reading books and I got tired and just wanted to veg. Enter the internet, my mind numbing device of choice. It’s very hard to go on the internet and not be bombarded by consumerism triggers. So my brain started saying YES, how neat, I NEED THAT. if I had that I could make this! In fact, just now the idea of gazing out the window instead of gazing at Facebook and Pinterest occured to me. And almost immediately my brain went to “if I built that window seat on the landing it would be the perfect place to gaze out of the window!” Of course building that window seat requires a trip to the store. OF COURSE IT DOES. Mother of avarice and GOOD GRIEF!!! I can’t escape this programming it seems and simple awareness is not enough. It’s going to be a long, painful road of slip-ups and failures. But I must press on down this road. I must remake my life into one of doing over acquiring. I am making progress. Very slow and fraught with disappointment, but today is a new day. I will start again. And I will start by avoiding my triggers and brainstorming things I can DO with what I already have! Which is much. I am blessed and I must not squander my abundant blessings.