I’d like to say I immediately had a great opening line for this new blog but in all honesty, I sat picking at the split ends in my hair while trying to think of something witty. I suppose I’ll lay the groundwork for this with some cliche statements. I’ve gone down several new paths within the last 6 months and am deathly afraid of tripping up and reverting back to old ways. Even though I’m sure all of this will be seen by myself and maybe one other blog vagabond, that’s okay. I figured I’d document things to hold myself accountable. This seems like the most appropriate platform to do so.
For a very long time (lets be real: years) I allowed bad experiences or negative relationships to dictate my actions, attitude, and how I thought it was appropriate to treat others. I incessantly looked at things on social media that I knew would either upset me or invoke passive aggressive comments and reactions. I became a manic consumer who allowed every little factor to become an excuse to spend money. Sad? Spend money. Jealous? Spend money. Discount codes and sales? Spend money. Lonely? Spend money. Feeling left out? Spend money.
All of these horrible actions began to snowball and transformed me and my life into something so destructive and I genuinely thought it was all crafted by outside influences. It’s always easier to blame someone or something else because then you don’t have to analyze the jerk you’ve become by your own doing.
It almost feels like something in my brain just switched one day, but I’m sure it would be more accurately described as a culmination of things that I’d been investing time and attention to within the same period of time. I’d spent years of arguments at home and working towards destroying my financial and social future that I just got so tired and desperately wanted a solution. The only problem is that every prior attempt was done without any real focus on fixing myself internally. I figured if I could fix my finances then everything else would fall into place.
The moment I hit a negative spiral with anything I would revert back to my old ways and any progress I’d made would be quickly drained.
I would like to point out that I’m eternally grateful to my then-boyfriend for continuously sticking by me when I would incessantly do these things while swearing it was the last time, even though I think deep down he knew it wasn’t. He’s always been very smart with his money and was hellbent on developing a solid savings and retirement account, and I will always feel like the worst kind of human being for constantly derailing all of that. Maybe it was one person’s total awareness and constant support despite everything that slowly forced my brain to finally put the pieces together. Maybe it was the wracking guilt. Maybe both.
I slowly started to hate all of the things I’d wasted money on to feel 10 minutes of fulfillment only to feel like a worthless financial drain once I actually had them. Around the beginning of December I came home one day and began boxing up everything. I donated 90% of my clothes and I began getting rid of anything I had in excess along with hundreds of books and anything else that was still sitting in boxes since we’d moved 3 years prior. Once all of these things were gone I became proud of having a very small wardrobe which was previously extremely important to me that it be overflowing with items I’d worn once or twice, most of which was purchased for the sake of posting them online. I felt like a fool but I was also continuously reminded that I couldn’t dwell on my past actions or I’d never move forward.
Whenever I’d have downtime at work or home and began browsing online retailers I would reiterate the question: “Is it necessary and does it serve a purpose?” over and over in my head until the urge to spend had dissipated. I forced myself to stop returning to certain sites or social media accounts that I knew were a masochistic action on my part to purposely ruin my own day. I logged off social media and posted sporadically when something really felt worthwhile. As far as what/who I follow nowadays, I began to swap one account out for another, removing anything I knew would be an excuse for me to be in a negative mindset, and replacing those accounts with ones that brought joy to my life and helped keep me on course.
I recently stumbled upon Cait Flanders’ book, The Year of Less, which mirrored my journey to the point of being eerie. I’d unknowingly taken the same path as her and ventured on what has essentially become my “shopping ban”. I’ve made conscious spending decisions to avoid replacing the things I’d just gotten rid of and have made an attempt to only purchase things as needed. Other than that, my sole focus has been putting money away. While I don’t plan on placing a full financial breakdown on here like Cait did with her blog, I would like to attempt her version of her second year into her shopping ban in which she kept track of what she was spending and how her life was going while doing it.
If Cait can discover how much is out there to help you create a truly wonderful life that doesn’t include excessive spending/consumerism, so can I. It’s been a truly freeing feeling to be perfectly content with what you have and pushing yourself to move forward in all aspects of life.