Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nine Months

Nine months.

The day, May 3rd, passed without fanfare while I was in Providence. I didn't even notice.

Nine months.

The amount of time it takes for a human baby to gestate. The length of a school year.

Nine months.

It has been nine months since I last bought any clothing. Nine months of buying used.

How does it feel?

Normal. Like this is just ... my life. The other day I went to the mall to get my iBook fixed and it was like stepping into a time warp. "Huh," I thought. "So this is what people do for fun. Weird."

Some days I feel like I could do this forever. Other days, like when my iPod dies, and I have to buy a new battery, I feel like I've already failed.

I've saved money, but I've spent money too. On nice restaurants and on concerts and on theatre.

One month I donated more money to non-profits than I used to donate in an entire year.

In the past nine months, I've been to more concerts than I had been to in my previous 28 years combined.

Most of the concerts were free.

When you are not buying new stuff, you learn to get creative. You learn to do without. You learn what you really need.

Before this experiment, I used to buy things because I thought my things said something about who I was as a person. Like, if I buy these plaid pants I'll look like the kind of rockin chick who spends a lot of time at art galleries in downtown LA. Or if I buy this yoga top, I'll look like the kind of girl who can do a headstand perfectly. With no need for the wall. With perfectly painted toes daintily pointing upwards.

But no matter what shirt I wore, I could never manage that headstand. My pedicure was always 3 months old. And my feet were always flailing about.

I still can't do a headstand.

But I no longer care.

13 comments:

Beany said...

I hope you don't stop this non consumerism after one year (or after you get yer book deal). I wish Green as a Thistle would blog again.

I've always been too scared to do a headstand.

Joyce said...

Congratulations! That's a loooong time to be so disciplined! I'm glad you are finding it to be so second nature now- perhaps you will never go back to the old way of doing things.

Green Bean said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Arduous. I am not as strict a non-consumer as you but I know what you mean. If I have to go to the mall or Target or something, it is really strange. So this is what people do? I thought we were all over this - but I guess it's just me. We stopped off at In N Out on the way home from our vacation (gross, I know, but we only got fries and grilled cheese) and it was packed at dinner time, eating their normal meal there. Really?!? How strange.

You probably can do this (or something close to it) forever. You are living instead of buying.

Student Doctor Green said...

totally poetic. I can't do a handstand at all much less perfect or wall-less. Be proud you are able to invert your body at all ;-)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your blog. Great post about your non consumerism for the past nine months. The thing I like about yoga is you are wherever you are and that's enough. Headstand or no headstand you are present and living conciously. That is the defintion of a life well-lived and you are living well indeed!
CLM

arduous said...

Beany, I miss Vanessa too. I have no plans to stop blogging, but I am not going to lie, I fully intend to buy new underwear in August. Especially since I have learned that holey underwear is symptomatic of child abuse.

Joyce, it IS second nature. I think it's true ... you can never go back. No matter what happens, I will always be approaching buying stuff with a greater sense of consciousness.

GB, I gotta confess, I love In N' Out. Of course I am not a vegetarian. But Eric Schlosser actually singled them out in "Fast Food Nation" for being one of the few fast food restaurants that actually serves good food (I believe they only use locally raised grass fed beef.) AND they pay their workers fair wages. I think it's something like $12 an hour now.

SDG, Heh. You just need a good yoga teacher who is willing to hold your legs. :)

CLM, you are right. It's all about being present and living consciously!

Anonymous said...

Can't. stop. myself. must. say...

Your heals should be pushing toward the ceiling in headstand, not your toes. Yes, I am a yoga snob. I can't stop myself. I know that wasn't the important part of your post, but, like I say, can't stop myself!

arduous said...

Ha ha, anonymous, now that I think about it you are right! Ah well. One more thing to work on. :)

CindyW said...

That's awesome. I think not buying anything new for a year is a nice habit forming ritual. After the year is over, it will be a relief to buy something new again. But for the most part, you probably won't. That's my guess and I am sticking to it.

Knowing that kids may add some complexity, I was too much of a chicken to go for "not doing so and so" for a year. But I forced myself to be aware of every purchase. That became a habit. A couple of days ago, I walked into Target to buy a swimming suit for my daughter (did not have time to buy second-hand due to my lack for planning). Last year, I would have walked out with $150 worth of crap. But this time, I came out with exactly one swimming suit.

It's probably a part of you now. You are living a life rather than buying things to stuff your life. You rock!

EcoGeoFemme said...

I LOVE this post. :)

arduous said...

Cindy W, yes it is a habit forming ritual. And once you do something for a year, you will never be the same again.

EGF- thanks!

Allie said...

I went to the mall with my husband to check out something he needed for work at the Apple store, and I had the same feeling. We actually discussed that shopping is what people do when they aren't aware of what other things are out (that are more fun). After you're out of that world it is a jolt to see that it's still going on.

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