No, I’m not predicting the end of the world. It’s the last day of the challenge! It’s been a really good year. I thought I might look back at the post from day 1. Wow! A lot has changed since then!! Here’s the first post.
Day one of any long time period challenge is more of a normal time than a reality check of the radical decision you just committed to. I decided to do this challenge very early in the morning, which is the time my monkeys are the most active. Yeah, I should probably explain that. My friend Steve says my thoughts are like a bunch of monkeys next to a banana tree, so we frequently refer to the monkeys in my head. Monkeys are fun and cute, so we’ll go with it.
So I had breakfast with my kids and decided to tell them the news! We will not be shopping retail for a year. No new toys, no new video games, no new clothes. After the silence, then denial, they reluctantly agreed that it was a good plan, although they thought a year was a bit excessive. Well, with all the excess in our society, why not add a little more excess? LOL
The ironic thing here is that I still have to shop sometimes for work, and this being the first day of the challenge, I had to go to Ikea for stage set stuff. I had an Ikea gift card for $50 in my wallet, just to complicate things. So off I went to shop, placing the stage items in the cart, along with a few things that I could buy with the gift card. Well, as we all justify the stuff we absolutely need, my justification here was that I should use up the gift card since it probably will get lost or decrease in value over a year. As I was about to check out, I put the stuff back. I don’t NEED it and I’m not even sure I WANT it. I was there, I had ‘Ikea’ money and everyone needs more stuff, right? I still have the gift card and plan to give it to someone I know that is getting his first apartment and actually has a few basic needs.
I told a few people about my plans, or my challenge. A few people thought it was a good idea and were not surprised. (They obviously know me well and there’s not many things I can do to surprise anyone) Others said it was cool, but they could never do it. Let me just say here that I like to shop, but not like most people. I hate malls and I hate spending money. I like material things though. There. I said it. I have an internal struggle with wanting simple and less fighting with a desire for more. I was raised in a very materialistic house. I have to call it a house, not a home, because a much higher value was placed on the material things in the house, not the people living in it.
I suppose I’m doing this to prove to myself that I don’t need a lot of stuff. I’m also doing this for my kids to teach them about another world, a crazy different world that exists outside this wealthy, affluent bubble we live in. A world where poverty and hunger exist because 20% of the world has 80% of the stuff, including food and water. As Gandhi said,“There’s enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed.”
This challenge is a very small step. I know I have a long way to go here, but if everyone just made some really small sacrifice, our world would change in a radically wonderful way. The monkeys are still processing all of this, along with my kids. Off to day 2…
I had an art show several years ago called Excessable, all of the photographs depicting the excess in our society, how accessible it is and how it doesn’t fulfill us. I’ve used some of these before in my blog posts, but today, they have more meaning to me.