Monday, August 4, 2008

There Will Be Bikini Briefs

One FREAKING year.

Oh yes. One fuh-ruh-zeaking YEAR.

It has been one year since I have bought any clothes whatsoever.

One year of no new things.

One year of no new underwear.

One year. 12 months. 366 days.

Holy hell.

How does it feel?

Strange, at times. Today I was at Ryl's house for brunch, and I commented on how much I liked Honda's top. And Honda said she bought it at Target, and I responded, I guess, in a tone of surprise.

"Wow, you must have not been to Target recently if you're surprised they have cute clothes," Annie said.

"Am I THAT out of it?" I wondered. And I thought a little, and realized that I haven't even stepped foot in a Target since December. In fact, I have a $5 gift card to Target that I received on that trip, and normally that gift card would be long gone, right? I mean, it's Target! And it's $5. But ... the card is still sitting in my purse, waiting to be used. Waiting for me to set forth in Target again.

I would like to take this time to say something profound about this year. What it's taught me. How I've grown. And yet ... I seem incapable of coming up with something really eloquent. I learned there are few things you can't do without. I learned that you can manage okay with neither a fan nor air conditioning in the summer as long as you keep your windows open. I learned that if you take the cushions off a papasan, the frame serves as a decent drying rack.

There were a few cheats, including the most recent one: orthodic insoles for my shoes. (Does it count if insurance pays for it? I'm not sure.) But aside from about five incidents, I stuck to my rules.

I did allow myself to buy stuff used, and I think 85% of the things I bought used were books. Books are something I'd never be able to give up buying, but luckily you can find almost every book used very easily these days. But other than books and CDs, I really didn't buy much used stuff either.

So what did I do? I did my fair share of borrowing. Cookie sheets from Honda. Books from the library. A scooter from Mouse. A Playstation from a co-worker.

And I did a LOT of making do. Making a heating pad from rice and an old sock. Using a paper template to cut gingerbread men. Using old tupperware as mixing bowls. Making my own scrapbooks from old binders and leftover paper.

And on occasion, my dear friends and family bought me new stuff that I really appreciate. Honda bought me a Klean Kanteen and a messenger bag made of recycled plastic bottles. Miss V and Annie bought me novelty tees.

So what now?

Now, life begins! For real. No rules. No restrictions. Just my own memories of this amazing year, and my newfound understanding about what really matters.

What really matters?

People. Friends and family. Our health. Experiences. Food. Art. Music. Security. Education.

What doesn't really matter?

Cars. Cell phones. Expensive sheets. Purses. Matching plates.

Thank you all for following me on this adventure. Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, and cheered me on. Thanks to everyone who's stood in a store and wondered "What Would Arduous Do?" Thanks especially to my mom, Honda and Miss V who bore the brunt of my insanity. It's been quite a journey, but don't despair. This is only the beginning, my friends. Only the beginning.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have underwear to buy.


Unknown said...

I've enjoyed reading your "No Purchase" posts!

Joyce said...

What an amazing year you've had! I can't believe how well you did with it! It's been so fun to read about how you've coped; now on to more adventures internationally.

Sam said...

Congrats! Make sure the undies come from a happy, shiny company. Your bottom will thank you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! You did great and I am sure you have inspired others to really think before they buy! And enjoy shopping for those new undies! I am sure that your shopping and spending habits have been changed forever!

ruchi said...

Thanks Bobbi!

Thanks Joyce, yes, onwards and upwards. :)

Beany, heh. Yes, I'm looking into organic underwear. But why is it all so oooglay?

Bugs and brooms, for sure my shopping habits have changed forever. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Yippee for new underwear too!

I'd love to read about your post-self-restricted life - what you actually buy or not buy.

It's always interesting to see what habits remain and what slip away once the "rules" are no longer rules.

ruchi said...

Cindy, I briefly considered keeping a list on my blog of all the stuff I buy now that I'm free. But ... I am really bad at updating my lists. I barely managed to do it in June, and I'm not done with my July list, and with all I've got going on I just didn't need one more thing to update.

But I will keep blogging about non-consumerism and I will probably talk about what I buy/don't buy in my blog posts!

And just in case anyone is wondering, I have not bought anything yet.

Anonymous said...

whoo, congratulations arduous! that definitely took some descipline. enjoy the underwear shopping!
will you still be around, now that your year is up/you're moving to england?

ruchi said...

Kimberly, oh yes, don't worry. You're not getting rid of me yet!

I still have great plans for blog domination.... :)

Allie said...

Wow! That's incredible! Congratulations!

ruchi said...

Thanks Allie!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on this accomplishment. You are an inspiration.... What's your next challenge ? How 'bout "How to make all verification letters disappear from the face of the planet" ?

Cars. Cell phones. Expensive sheets. Purses. Matching plates.

Amen ! However, please do me a favor and go to the Apple store. Look at one of those iPhones, and then come back and tell me that you still stand by what you wrote...

ruchi said...

Okham, hahaha! Yes, I know those verification letters are awful, but spammy spammers are worse. So sadly, we have to all live with the dumb verification letters.

Yes, I love the iPhone. It is very, very pretty. I totally and completely get the appeal. BUT, ultimately, it's not going to make me a happier, better person. Besides, I already have a phone, an iPod, and I spend far too much time on the internet as it is. ;)

Natalie said...

Q: Know who I admire?
A: Arduous.

ruchi said...

Aw! Thanks Natalie. You are the sweetest.

The bean-mom said...

Congratulations! It's been quite a year. I look forward to continuing to read your blog and see what adventures the next year brings... And have fun at Target now!

hmd said...

You made it! Congratulations, Arduous!

ruchi said...

Thanks Heather! Thanks Bean Mom! Yeah ... it might be a little too soon for Target. Baby (consumer) steps!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...


And, I love my iPhone, but it didn't make me any happier than I already was. Cooler, yes, and dorkier, but not happier.

(I'm pretty happy anyway though so no biggie).

ruchi said...

Cath, well that's a good place to be in life. :) And it's kinda funny that your iPhone made you BOTH dorkier AND cooler. I guess dorks are in these days!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm sure you'll never be the same, never look at purchases the same way, and value more what you do purchase... I'm interested to see where this all leads next!!

(Besides buying ugly organic cotton underwear. I went on a quest to find them a couple years ago, and ended up purchasing the only decent ones I could find, but they never got worn... There MUST be something else out there now...???)

ruchi said...

Thanks Melinda. Also glad to know other people have had underwear purchasing issues!!

Anonymous said...

Its a great post..well done..i really like it..