I first had the idea for The Year of More just before Christmas and the thought of Not Buying Books or Dresses or DVDs or Jewellery or ordering Letterbox Joy delights through Vistaprint for an Entire Year did freak me out slightly.
Okay, more than slightly.
So I procrastinated throughout the month of January (whilst, yes, I kept buying books and dresses and DVDs and jewellery and ordering LBJ delights from Vistaprint) until I knew in my heart this was something I Truly Wanted To Do.
So why is it so scary?
Why does the simple thought of Not Buying Superfluous Things for One Year automatically have me rushing out to spend money on superfluous things?
What could possibly happen?
What is my fear?
What will peeling back this particular onion reveal?
You know what I realised?
By doing this, I could actually finally stop filling that hole with stuff. You know the hole I’m referring to? The hole that craves love or acceptance or belonging or validation or peace or whatever it is The Hole craves. Mine has craved different things at various times throughout my life but I suspect it's only come close to being emptied on the rarest of occasions. Only during the most gut wrenching, soul searching, rawest, broken moments of my life have I even come close to not automatically wanting to fill it. Because it's been in those moments that my soul has wanted to expand to let the light in. To show me that the darkness I fear isn't some big scary hole of nothingness and emptiness but a place of absolute peace and contentment.
It’s about why The Need To Do It Is There At All.
But apparently my procrastination knows no bounds. I had friends stay with me for the weekend to celebrate. And I had Monday off work. And we went shopping. And I bought a dress. Or two.
So I started on Tuesday, 18 March and from that date, I vowed to only buy things I Need for One Whole Year.
A slight stipulation to this rule is absolutely necessary I’m afraid as I’m going to New York in early March 2015 so I may, (translation: will absolutely), need to finish a couple of weeks early. It’s New York. Enough Said. So technically it won’t be A Full Year but I thought The Year of More was slightly more stylish than 50 Weeks of More :)
Obviously I need to pay my bills – phone, Internet, electricity, water, rates, insurance, mortgage, registration for Emma (my car) etc. but I will be more mindful about the way I use these items in order to use less of our beautiful planet’s dwindling resources. Petrol is a necessity but I will ensure I buy it at the most discounted rate I can find. And I know my Dad will remind me to make sure my tyres have enough air in them so Emma uses fuel more efficiently so I shall do that too (thanks Kenny, love you x).
Household items such as toilet paper, tissues, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and deodorant are mandatory if I want anyone to socialise with me over the coming year :) But I've recently run out of my favourite perfume 'Angel' and I won't replace it as I have a perfectly good bottle of 'Daisy' sitting there ready to fulfil it's mission to make me smell lovely.
Oh, okay, massages are a need for me too so make that ‘two luxurious needs’. Wait, don’t log out just yet - let me explain. I get migraines and having a monthly massage helps to prevent them. See, definitely a need if I want to live a Rich Fulfilling Healthy Life.
I also love sending Letterbox Joy to friends all over the world so I shall maintain my commitment to increase the profits of Australia Post forevermore.
And I regularly donate to six amazing charities each month and I obviously won't stop doing that as the work they do continues to touch my heart.
But this is more about stuff as I believe spending money on experiencing life - via a trip to the theatre, or dinner with friends, or a plane ticket to Melbourne to hug my Dad - they're all the Essentials of Life because they bring me endless joy. And as this whole venture is about Creating More Joy, it seems crazy to limit the joy creation I already have.
Stuff is different though as I believe the joy factor connected to stuff has a limited shelf life - a new dress or CD might bring us joy in the moment but at some point, the Value of Joy it provides to us diminishes - sometimes to the point where we wouldn't even notice if the item was missing from our lives. But the memory of a trip to the theatre or shared laughter over a meal or the feeling of a long warm hug, those Joy Creators stay with us and creep into our souls and remain their forever.
Sooooo, I realise I've just given you a pretty large list of What I'll Still Buy, which rather contradicts my earlier grand declaration to limit my spending.
So what won't I buy?
I won’t buy any clothes (not even undies or socks), or books - I’m breaking out in a sweat just typing those two words - or DVDs, or CDs, or jewellery, or furniture, or cute little decorative things for The Tree House, or electrical appliances (unless they break), or towels or doona covers or cushions or other beautiful household items I am most fond of.
And I hereby promise to Not Order Anything From Vistaprint until I've used all the Letterbox Joy cards - and magnets and recently produced brochures :) - that I already have.
Because, trust me, I have More Than Enough of all of those things.
So I’m curious to see what will happen over the next year. Will I feel less happy, less content, less worthy? I suspect the opposite will in fact happen and that I will have absolute proof that all that stuff actually gets in the way of the stuff that does bring true happiness and contentment and a feeling of worthiness.
I believe Having Less will create More of the Other Stuff – the Joy Creating Stuff!
So I don’t know how exciting or interesting it will be for you to read about me re-reading my favourite book or wearing a bra I haven’t worn in eons :) But for some reason I felt the need to make this a Public Declaration of The Year of More - perhaps to feel truly committed to Doing This.
Because putting something in writing.
Is a Rather Grand Declaration of Intent.
Or maybe my insights (here’s hoping there will actually be some) might inspire One Other Person to count their books and dresses and to realise They Have Enough Stuff Already and to look for the Real Important Stuff - the Stuff That Feeds Their Soul.
I know I’m looking forward to exploring what else feeds mine.
Endless thanks for reading My First Ever Blog Joy Post!! I promise future posts won't be quite this long :)