“All good things are wild and free” -Henry David Thoreau
Life has been kicking my butt. I’ve got so many school and work writing deadlines that I’ve had to put this blog in the back burner. But a good sign is that I’ve wanted to come back on here and express myself and update whoever is interested in my intentional living experience. So I’m writing this on my phone but I’m getting it out one way or another before the month is over.
I can’t believe it’ll almost be a whole month since I decided to make some changes to the way our family lives and invests our finances. I’ve gotta say that I was able to almost completely switch off the mindless consumerism that I was used to taking part in for my entire young adult life. It’s kind of like one of those horrible things that once you learn, you can’t unlearn or keep taking part in. Unsubscribing from shopping sites in my email definitely helped. Not being able to see supposed sales (that weren’t even an actual score due to not actually needing any of it in the first place), was a game changer. Some sites slipped through despite hitting the unsubscribe button and these loud, ridiculous, ALL-CAPS & exclamation marked sales announcements begging to be opened just seemed ridiculous to me. I had never perceived it that way before.
The websites I wasted most of my time on, pre-lifestyle change, were Ulta, Sephora, other makeup sites, Macy’s, & Amazon, especially that last one. (They have everything!!) I say I wasted my time rather than spent, because the issue wasn’t very much that I was sending us to bankruptcy actually spending at these sites. The issue for me was how many times throughout the day I caught myself wondering what to purchase next. This wasn’t due to necessity rather than underlying unmet needs and, most likely, psychological issues lol. I would think of buying something due to the cliché perceived need of filling a void, avoiding responsibilities, being exhausted, being depressed, boredom, loneliness, lack of stimulation, impulsivity, a need for endorphins with a minimal effort requirement, etc. I didn’t come to these conclusions easily.
Luckily it usually takes me a week or two to finalize a purchase just because when I’m not being impulsive then I’m indecisive and like to get the best deals lol. But for this same reason, making my next purchase became a real nuisance that simply took up too much space in my mind.
Two weeks ago I had a few writing assignments due for school. (I’m a full time Master’s of Social Work student). As a good procrastinator would, I left my assignments to be worried about, the same week they were due. Ok I’ll be honest, I typically start and finish a writing assignment the same day it’s due. Go ahead and judge me. But I get A’s and so the cycle is positively reinforced and then perpetuated. Anyway, this was the first time this month that not visiting shopping sites, was actually a challenge. I found myself really itching for something new. I had this anxiety-ridden urge to just at least put something in my online shopping cart to start considering. What’s been great about this lifestyle change is how much I’ve learned about myself thus far. It’s left room to gain awareness of my own behavioral patterns, underlying needs and coping mechanisms. I realized that backed up anxiety and stress leads to ruminating thoughts of consumerism and avoidance for me. But just like with any challenges, awareness, realization and acceptance is key to having control to change behaviors. After all, you can’t make a change you don’t recognize needs to be made.
My kids continue to be okay without getting new toys bought for them and seem to understand our reasoning/lifestyle change. An added bonus has been that they’re learning about saving up for stuff and the value of money in general.
We fell off of hiking (not literally), one weekend because we went to visit family, but we got back on again today. It was great. I feel my happiest while out in nature. My daughter was proud of herself for not asking to be carried this time around. We’re getting used to this particular hiking trail we’ve done this month. Visiting the beach is our other favorite, free-to-do thing on the weekends, but it’s been too cold lately.
I’ve struggled to minimize my eating-out although I believe it’s difficult with the job I do. I work with youth who are on probation and I drive around and meet them in their communities (in a nutshell). So there’ve been so many times that I pack a lunch from home and never end up making it to the office where they’ve got a microwave to heat it up and eat it. Rarely do I crave cold meals.
Did this blog feel like it bounced around from topic to topic too much? Figuring this blogging thing out but also figuring that that’s just kind of how my brain works.