Once the year had ended, the question then became: How does the experiment end? Should I just start shopping again? Shop less? I called Elissa. I hadn’t seen her in years. She told me that after she bought the black coat she decided to re-up for another year. Purple Lingerie
“I realised I had too many decisions to make that were actually important,” she said. “There were people to help, things to do. Not shopping frees up a lot of space in your brain.”
I left my pledge in place for a while, but over time I drifted away – not because I wanted to start shopping again, but because I rarely thought about it anymore. Much to my surprise, not shopping for a year had inadvertently killed my interest in shopping, in much the same way not smoking for a year (so many years ago) had killed my interest in cigarettes. I used to smoke? When I stopped mindlessly scooping up the things I thought I wanted, I had a better understanding of all the ridiculous things people were trying to sell me, like dresses and shirts with the shoulders cut out (though I like to think I wouldn’t have fallen for that one even if I had been shopping).Red Lingerie
The things we buy and buy and buy are like a thick coat of Vaseline smeared on glass: we can see some shapes out there, light and dark, but in our constant craving for what we may still want, we miss too many of life’s details. It’s not as if I kept a ledger and took the money I didn’t spend on perfume and gave that money to the poor, but I came to a better understanding of money as something we earn and spend and save for the things we want and need. Once I was able to get past the want and be honest about the need, it was easier to let the money go. It was like Elissa had told me when she first explained the benefits of not shopping: “Our capacity for giving is huge.”
For the record, I still have more than plenty. I know the vast difference between not buying things and not being able to buy things. Not shopping for a year hardly makes me one with the poor, but it’s put me on the path of figuring out what I can do to help. Skin Lingerie I understand that buying things is the backbone of the economy and job growth. I appreciate all the people who shop in the bookstore. But taking some time off from consumerism isn’t going to collapse the financial markets. If you’re ever looking for a New Year’s resolution, I have to tell you: this one’s great.