Week 6 of 'The Great Wake Up!'
Not being able to buy anything except food and water was always going to be a big challenge for me. I am constantly being told by those around me that I spend money on things that I don't necessarily need.
'What's wrong with the bag you've got?'
'Another new journal?'
'How many dresses do you need?!'
I hate to admit it, but they are right. I'm usually fairly sensible about how I spend my money, but at the same time I do like to buy nice things for myself. And with the increased popularity of internet shopping, it has never seemed easier to indulge in this pastime. I sometimes wonder if I'm trying to make up for something that is missing in my life. Who knows? But without getting too deep, I knew this experiment would be a tough one and would shake things up quite considerably for me.
So now that I've described what we are working with here (i.e. me!), how did this experiment go? Well, better then I thought. On the whole I was successful, but I'm not going to lie, I did falter on a couple of occasions. The first time was when I booked a place on a workshop that I wanted to attend and which had a limited number of spaces. I didn't want to wait until the experiment was over in case it got full up. The second time was when I purchased a new book for my Kindle. A book that I had been looking forward to reading for some time. I was returning to work the next day after a weeks holiday and I needed something good to read during my commute. I know, I know!! Even I can hear how these sound like excuses. But they are the reasons I came up with to justify these lapses to myself!
A big success was wondering around the busiest shopping areas in London and not buying anything. Nothing! That was a first for me. I went home on the tube with that uncomfortable feeling of thinking I'd forgotten something. Under normal circumstances, I would usually come away with at least one purchase even if it was something small. At the moment I love notebooks and journals and I have built up a bit of a collection. So I spent some time wondering around stationery departments to really test myself. I learned that I could enjoy just looking and admiring things without giving in to the desire to make them mine and take them home with me...that I can survive without having to buy 'stuff'. And it felt ok. There were no disasters, nothing went wrong! I'm still here. I saw a small glimpse of me simply being 'enough', without having to purchase the latest shoes or the most glamorous handbag.
It's had such a great effect on me that I'm going to try to continue with it - perhaps not to the extent of buying nothing except food and water. But finding a good balance between being more careful about what I purchase whilst also showing some self-compassion by treating myself every now and then.