Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a year-long, weekly series as author Trish Rohr embarks on a 366 day journey to own her life in a bigger and better way as she attempts the formidable task of a year without buying new clothes.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t have a very good track record keeping my resolutions.
To be honest, I always go into resolutions, challenges or goals knowing full well I will not do it. I plan to cheat. Always.
I am a cheater.
Logically I should stop making declarations of personal progress, but apparently I can’t help myself. The pressure to think of something (anything) I might aim to accomplish over the course of the next 365 days (366 this year – are you kidding me?) creeps in.
It all started in elementary school. As a kid I could count on returning in January, after an indulgent and “no thinking allowed” holiday break, with at least one teacher determined to shatter the dream. The agony only grew worse as I moved through school. The easy out of hoping for snow in January or for eating my vegetables was no longer enough. A goal setting writing prompt or discussion on the past and the future always made me nauseated and nervous. I was so caught up making creative goals and then the viability of achievement that I literally froze.
I ended up with some cliche, lunch table bullshit, handed it in for the mediocre “B” and never really thought much about it again.
Nothing changed in my professional life, either. In fact my disdain for personal mission statements and goal setting sessions grew every year…I do believe one time I put down the saucy “Spend more time on my actual job and less time on perplexing attempts to waste my time by the administration”. I may or may not have handed that one in.
The crazy thing is I am a sucker for a challenge. I love the idea of a lofty, ambitious, stupid goal. 62 yoga practices for 62 days during the holiday season is stupid. For me. Actually it is probably stupid for most people who live in the real world. Giving up sugar for Lent is lofty AND stupid. I am fueled by two things – sugar and caffeine. No way am I giving up either. And no clothes shopping for the entire 366 days of 2016 is challenging…and lofty and stupid.
But I am not going to cheat this time.
Deep breath. Shit. Ok. Here it is….
Charlotte has an amazing group of thinkers and writers – one of my faves is Bruce McIntyre and his blog Choices Do Matter. I love people who make me think, and Bruce sure does. Plus I believe 100% in the power of choice. Back when I taught middle school I preached choice. All. The. Time. You choose. You have the power of choice. Own your choices. Choices come with consequences, so choose well my friends. Bruce took a bold move and declared his intention for 2016 – no more STUFF. I read it. And then I commented. (and you know, shit goes DOWN in the comments on a blog!)
“Hey Bruce! I have to say that your resolution has been nagging at me….a whole year….no new clothing…. I brought this up last night at dinner with the kids and we had a fantastic discussion about “stuff”, privilege, wealth, excess…so your post has already had a great impact! OK. I am in. I have enough. (Actually I have too much – I doubt I will need any needles and thread!) May I share your post on my blog? Maybe we can do this journey together? xo”
One year. 366 days (damn the extra leap day!). No shopping for clothing for myself. I think I threw up a bit in my mouth.
My shopping is not out of the ordinary, nor does it put my family in financial jeopardy. I am not a minimalist nor have any desire to become one. If there is something I really like – a new pair of shoes, cute yoga pants, another pair of jeans – I buy it. One click. One swipe. It really does make me happy. For a solid….day. Then it all just becomes another potential cute outfit in a closet full of cute outfits.
Feeling a bit down? The Nordstrom sale can fix that! Rained for 7 weeks in row and now feeling some seasonal disorder effects? Troll the internet for a few hours, find the sales and load up. Something to look forward to – that package on the porch!
Time for a shift.
What I realized is this – I have enough.
This decision does not come without a sense of foreboding. As I mentally ran through my year – events, weddings, parties, vacations – I could feel my chest tighten and heart rate quicken. A tad dramatic? Maybe…. but I have been conditioned to shop!
So you might see me in the same sweater twice this winter….is that the worst thing to happen?
Actually it isn’t. Not even close. Here is another secret. My husband has a brain tumor. Didn’t see that one coming? Yeah, neither did I.
It changed everything. It changes everything.
So why a ridiculous resolution of no new clothing? Why any resolution really? Isn’t it because we all are wanting one thing….to be happier?
Aren’t we bargaining in some way to have a happy life – less junk food, extra yoga, no smoking, a lot of traveling, fewer hours spent on social media, more time helping others. How many articles, books, posts are written around the theme of finding happiness? (Trust me the irony of that statement is not lost on me).
Shouldn’t we have figured this out by now?
Happiness isn’t easy. There is no one-stop shop to find it. It doesn’t come in a neat little package delivered right to the front porch. Trust me, I’ve tried that approach. Look at my closet sometime.
I have noticed that really shitty, anti-happiness circumstances are secret passageways to opportunities….
So I’ve decided to make a bit more space in my life to figure it out. Less stuff – more space. That’s it.
Only 350 days to go…
As a self-proclaimed Privileged White Woman, Trish’s humor, clarity and inspiration weaves a new view of how we find happiness. Using lessons she’s learned in the past 10 years since her best friend died unexpectedly from a brain tumor and her husband’s subsequent diagnosis with his own brain tumor five years later, Trish’s journey reminds us all to find our path, our compassion and, most importantly, to own our shit.
Trish Rohr is a writer :: avid reader :: nonprofit founder :: yogi
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