Well, I am officially one week into my little experiment of examining my values and making sure that my time reflects what I am aiming to pursue.
So far I have felt a huge sense of freedom. I have had to address my disappearance from Facebook to a few close friends and family members but nearly everyone I’ve shared with has empathized and understood.
I have also noticed that about three different times this week I have felt a strong urge to make a Sonic run. I know it may sound kind of silly or inane, but giving in to nearly daily Sonic runs is kind of the opposite of what I am going for. I have pinpointed that the attraction is to “Treat Myself,” (and the kids) with something that brings temporary happiness. I am also discovering that my trigger for this is tiredness. When I am tired I often want a Diet Coke and a boost of caffeine. This also falls under the “mindless spending” category and that’s another thing I am trying to avoid.
Another win for me is that I have exercised every single day this week. I often believe the lie that “I don’t have time,” but when I am not spending inordinate amounts of time scrolling Facebook, it turns out that I actually DO have plenty of time. I’ve also had time for reading, writing, my devotional, and extra moments engaged with the kids and Ryan. I spent over half an hour lingering over helping Mae and Kate to put away their laundry. We had a great discussion about all of the things we have loved (and not loved) about each of the houses we’ve lived in. It delighted me to hear what made their wish lists for their dream house.
And finally the thing that has added a ton of value to my week (in both a figurative and literal sense) is that I have done a massive purge of things that we no longer use, need, or want.
We have a great app for our neighborhood (and several others nearby) that has a classifieds section. My neighbors have been in and out of my driveway this week buying my castoffs.
Another realization I had was that while I do find it easy to purge clothing items, I have a difficult time getting rid of sentimental kids’ toys and homeschool items. I think there is some connection to my own identity and those relics of importance. I said goodbye to all of my preschool and kindergarten/first grade games, manipulatives, and tools. It was hard for me to do that because so many wonderful moments and memories are tied to them. But alas, I no longer need them and feel much more free of all of the space they were taking up. I also got rid of several furniture pieces that I no longer wish to keep moving from house to house. Again, there was some type of sentimental value tied in a little, but overall, I feel a weight lifting.
In exchange for giving up all of this STUFF, in its place I have gained freedom and a chunk of change. That money won’t go toward buying more things, but rather will fund some experiences. It will either go towards purchasing a summer pool membership or towards a trip or vacation.
And finally, the last moment of introspection that I had this week was upon booking a plane ticket for a trip to join Ryan my immediate (normal) response was make a mental list of all of the new clothes I wanted/needed to buy for this get-a-way. One habit I have that isn’t great is that any time I travel I think I have to have brand new clothes or a new purse/shoes/something to mark the occasion.
However, I pledged to not buy any new clothes this summer and focus on dressing from a few small wardrobe capsules. When it hit me that I’d be going on this trip with clothes I already have I felt a slight twinge of disappointment. Then I pulled out some mixable-and-matchable clothes and realized it would only take me about 10 minutes to pack for a seven day trip.
The thing I keep telling myself is this: I am not trying to place a bunch of rules and regulations on myself. This isn’t about can’t and shouldn’t but rather about taking a minute to consider the opportunity cost of some of my habits of spending, consumption, and materialism. I blame The Minimalists.
Do you have any habits you’d like to break? Anything that you routinely do that doesn’t align with the values you hope to emulate? I’d love to hear from you.
Stay tuned for a post next week on my small vacation wardrobe capsule I’ll be putting together for our trip!