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 boyfriend 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…