(I loved Reverb10, where I was sent a writing prompt every day of December. It was a great way to reflect on the year and set some goals. Alas, Reverb11 is not going to happen unless I do it. So, I’ve collected the prompts from last year, exchanged a few of my own, and will select one every day.)
Prompt: 12 Things. What are 12 things your life doesn’t need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 12 things change your life?
I woke up this morning from yet another dream about shopping. Yes, I dream about shopping a lot. Often, I am in a store, trying on jewelry, convinced that if I find the right ring/necklace/bracelet/whatever I will have found a missing piece of myself. I do, in fact, wander jewelry stores in waking life with the same mission. In this particular dream I had found a larger version of a cat statue I already have, but when I looked down it was missing an ear. I still wanted it, even with the missing ear, even with it costing 150 bucks. As the sales associate went to check if she could give me a discount, I looked at lipstick. I looked in a mirror with the new lipstick color on and found myself saying “you don’t even wear lipstick.” And what was I going to do with a giant, broken cat statue?
I woke up and had a flash of insight. I am semi-addicted to shopping. I’m even dreaming about it. I need to stop. I do not need new stuff. I need to stop acquiring new things.
And I knew it was true. What had I done yesterday? Instead of going home and doing yoga I went out of my way to go to the used book store. Sure, I found a book I’d really been wanting, but I also bought another cookbook and a CD of Christmas music. Really? That’s what I did with my free time? Because I was bored, or avoiding exercise or just couldn’t control my impulses? Is that how I really want to spend my time – wandering around stores so often that it filters into my unconscious?
I need to stop shopping. I do not need new stuff. I need to stop acquiring new things.
So, the 12 things my life doesn’t need any more of:
1. New Cookbooks – I have enough. I need to start cooking from them – perhaps for Foodie Friday? Copy the good recipes down in my binder and then give the books away. No more looking at the Amazon recommendations. I don’t care if another book from my favorite cookbook author has come out. I don’t need it.
2. Old Recipes – I get a lot of magazines. I clip recipes that go into a binder and never come out. I can’t cancel the subscriptions – they are gifts, and good ones I like getting. I need to cook with them or recycle them. Another Foodie Friday project.
3. New Books on Gardening. I went to the library the other day – again because I was bored – and got 7 books on gardening that, when I read them, didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. They are going back to the library, but honestly? Why did I even check them out? This makes me wonder, how is the library different from shopping? Yes, it’s all free, but I buy books there too and it satisfies the same desire while still cluttering up my life. Could I give up the library? The very idea makes me shudder…
4. New Books on Herbalism –ditto, ditto, ditto! I am so glad I canceled my subscription to the Herb Mentor portal – a great site, but too much temptation!
5. New Books on Tarot – I have more than I can use and haven’t even read the new ones. I just buy and don’t even crack the spine. I need to review them, all of them, purposefully, and decided to keep or not. I could do one a month and still not run out!
6. New Books, period! I have more books on my shelves than I can read in a year! Seriously, perhaps I should give up the library for a while…
7. New Clothing – I have really tried to be careful about my purchases. I have even sent my favorite skirt to be copied instead of searching for another. While that skirt is with the seamstress, I realize I don’t really need it. I have tons. I’m not about to do Six Items Or Less, but I really don’t need new clothes. If anything, I need to cut down on what I have this year.
8. New Jewelry – screw the dreams. A new ring doesn’t complete me. If anything, I should try to wear more of what I own. Etsy, you and I need a break.
9. New Shoes – I just replaced my favorite (and very worn) shoes with the vegan version and haven’t even worn them yet! This is sad. I not only don’t need new shoes, I need to get rid of what I have. No more trips to Target, haven of cheap, vegan shoes.
10. Another Blank Book. I have tons. I do not write in them. I don’t even need notebooks, as I get a lot free through my job. No more trips to Office Depot, where the blank book lust is overpowering.
11. Additions to the Fabric Stash. This one is going to be hard. I have to stop going to FabMo. I have no room for more stuff. I need to make things from the fabric I have.
12. Another Craft Project. Mom’s Quilt. Produce bags. Paper crafts with discarded books. Napkins. Uniform Project Dress. Knitted Cowl. The list of things I have the stuff to do but haven’t started on goes on and on – no more new projects! I can’t even think about adding something else until I finish these. Perhaps I need to edit my Google Reader? Do I really need those craft blogs screaming at me?
Yipes. A lot of those ideas are really scary. It’s a lot to give up, and life would be better, but it would mean a drastic change in how I approach things. I wonder how this will play out. I guess I have all of 2012 to see!
I do remember yesterday as I drove to the store thinking, “Perhaps you should pull over, and meditate, and see if you still want to go then.” What a wise little voice. Perhaps next time I’ll listen.
P.S. Last year I wrote this.