My One New Year’s Intention: Six Months, No Shopping

 Shopping fast

I don’t like the way I left 2017.

I fell asleep at 9:30, wracked with feelings of guilt over all the things I didn’t do, all the promises I didn’t deliver on, all the opportunities I missed. It was a champagne-induced guilt, the kind that’s hard to crawl out of because you’re half-dreaming and your brain is already impaired, and you’re already hating yourself for the hangover you know you’re in for in about six hours.

So I felt guilty that I drank too much. I felt guilty about my haphazard career path – that I left my job of four years, practically on a whim, to return to teaching. I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to immediately provide my students with an inclusive, inspiring learning environment. I felt guilty that I didn’t devote more time to this blog after merging with Let’s Be Fair, or deliver on the promise of more frequent, useful content. I felt guilty that I never sent thank you cards for all of Avery’s presents.

I felt guilty about feeling guilty.

And I woke up New Year's morning so angry at all of that guilt. At all of the unreasonable expectations I put on myself, and all of the (mostly perceived) expectations of others. And while I could resolve to be kinder to myself, to make more time for self-care, to say “no” more... the last thing I want to do is set more expectations that I’ll eventually feel guilty about not living up to (I mean, who wants to fail at self-care?).

So screw a list of resolutions this year.

Rather, I’m setting one simple, achievable intention – one that requires doing less, not more. I simply won't shop for six months.  

The timing is right, so why not?

I’ve been wanting to try a shopping “fast” for a long time, but have always found excuses not to. Some of them were legit (like being pregnant), and some were superfluous (a trip that required a new pair of sandals, or a wedding that simply necessitated a breezy wrap dress).

But at a year postpartum, I finally fit into my "normal" size again, and have full access to my prior wardrobe. Note: I'm air-quoting here because everyone's "normal" is different and subject to change. I wasn't sure I would ever return to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I was okay with that. Some women don't, and it's not because they didn't exercise enough or eat right or practice enough mindfulness. I didn't do any of those things, to be honest. That's just the way my body responded.

Anyway, taking a break from my closet gave me some much-needed perspective, and has filled me with a new appreciation for the things I already have. Thanks to some coaching from Anuschka Rees and Colette Patterns' Wardrobe Architect project, I put some major thought into my wardrobe over the past few years. I invested in several staple pieces, and honed my personal style (you can see some of that work here, here, and here). Getting dressed in the morning is so much easier these days, and I feel confident and comfortable in the clothes I have.

That said, I still do have a tendency to shop my feelings. After a hard day at work or a long night caring for a sick baby, all I want to do is something mindless – and browsing pretty things online, at the mall, or even my local Salvation Army fits that bill. In a way it does feel like a form of self-care, but not the kind that I want to cultivate. So for this and a few other reasons, I’m cutting myself off. Here’s the deal:

Parameters

  • No new clothing or accessories for six months
  • Repair, borrow, or trade for anything new
  • Exceptions: bras/ underwear if needed or the replacement of any essential items that may get irreparably damaged (shoes, etc.)

Intended outcomes

  • Save some $$$
  • Learn how to better care for and repair my clothes
  • Find new creative ways to style the clothes I have
  • Find better ways to deal with stress/ boredom

I’m hoping to include lots of outfit posts and clothing maintenance tips along the way, so stay tuned. And if you’re on a similar journey, let me know! I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Happy new year, friends, and here’s to a more mindful and creative 2018!