Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Nothing and NaBloPoMo

I am feeling really motivated to blog every day in November.  I intend to post at least one thing for which I am grateful daily, and I am also participating in NaBloPoMo and will use its daily prompts for topics when I'm feeling at a loss for things to post.

Additionally, I recently learned of a project that I think may be just what I need to enhance my feelings of gratitude during the month.  My sister and I have been talking lately about how we (and our husbands), and so many of our friends, it seems, suffer from "affluenza."  
Af-flu-en-za (n). 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Goodness knows, there is nothing like the arrival of babies in one's life for spurring consumerism.  We are told about all the things babies "need," and all new parents are short on time and energy and looking for things to make life easier.  This often leads to spending, some of it necessary, some of it perhaps not so much.  I am as guilty of this as the next person.

I spend more money than I should on things I don't truly *need*, and then justify it by saying "I know we will use it eventually" or "It was on sale!" or "My friend ___ has one and loves it" or "I work hard, I deserve it!" or my favorite these days "I waited a long time to have these babies, and I'll buy things for them if I want to!"  I get a rush about getting a bargain, even if the item I've purchased is one I could've done without.

Some people wishing to break free of this type of behavior for a variety of reasons have pledged to spend an entire month buying nothing new (with the exception of essentials like food, drink, medications, and hygiene products).  If you do a search for "how to buy nothing new for 30 days," you'll come up with a number of websites and blogs dedicated to this purpose.

I'm gonna do this.  I am complicating matters a bit by undertaking this project during the month of November, when I still have Christmas presents to buy, so in order to accommodate my need to do that (and not put my gift-buying off even further into December), I am going to allow myself an exception for "gifts I would've bought for family members anyway" in addition to the exceptions for food, drink, medications and hygiene products.  Additionally, I am going to try to be more mindful of what I spend on even these essentials.  I certainly do very little currently to reduce my grocery bill ("I don't have time!" is a common mantra for me these days), and I don't deprive myself of a Star$$ coffee if I'm having a "hard day," but I am going to cut back in these areas as well.

Who's with me?  :-)

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: Tell us your favourite quotation and why.

Wow, I have so many quotes I love that I really couldn't pick just one.  In keeping with my theme of gratitude for this month, I will single out this Oprah Winfrey quote which I included in this post I wrote almost three years ago about gratitude:
Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey 
I truly believe this.  Another quote on the same theme is one which I have as my email signature and on my Fac.ebo.ok profile: "He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have." (Socrates)  This reminder was one I really needed during the darkest days of infertility, when I often thought "If I could just be a mother, I would be happy."

Today I am grateful for the internet.  Without it, I would've missed out on some great friendships, and since I meet MM on an online dating site, I would never have met my husband!

2 comments:

  1. Oooh, I like that prompt! My favorite quote has got to be the one I use as my email signature: Vita sine literis mors est 'Life without letters is death'. When I was working at the library as an undergrad, I once had a project to convert an index-card-catalog of bookplates into an electronic catalog, and I found a number of different bookplates which had this motto (it's usually translated "books" rather than "letters", but I like the alliteration). So I adopted it as my own. I can't survive without my books, or without writing (even if the vast majority of my writing nowadays is academic papers rather than fiction or poetry.)

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  2. I've been trying to cut back on the buying lately too - not that I buy much anyways. But in terms of gifts (my twins' birthdays, my nephew's birthday, plus Christmas for all), I'm trying to step back and think harder about getting something useful, meaningful, and how to not break the bank in doing that. So I crocheted my nephew a blanket, and I made gloves for my mom, we're buying the boys a fishtank (an "experience" rather than a toy they will break or fight over), and likely recycling some gently-used baby toys into Christmas gifts for the babies. So instead of "not buying" I'm trying to buy mindfully.

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