It sounded like an amazing experiment with self-discipline. Not only was there to be no shopping for anything other than food, but there would also be no idle store wandering, no window shopping, no perusing shops online. Instead, the focus would be pursuing more opportunities to support the arts and enjoy new experiences. To challenge one's self. To think. To grow.
I was right on board with this idea,and thus The February Challenge was born!
|A windy cold day calls for Hello Kitty!|
There was also a visit to music mecca Athens, Georgia, one of my Southern favorite towns! Dining at The Grit, visiting The Georgia Museum of Art to see a Guerilla Girls exhibit, and a trip to Daily Groceries Co-op. These wonderful places are all in close proximity to us, and yet we hadn't been in ages!
|Sighted along the way - we take the back roads, much more visually engaging!|
Determined not to cave, I had to search for creative solutions whenever a situation arose where I might need to make a purchase. And I learned patience...hardly one of my virtues, but I found that in patience I discovered solutions that did not require spending. My son was totally on board with the challenge, and together we discussed why it is important to stick to financial goals.
I won't lie, though...I had to resist temptation that kept creeping my way. While I am hardly a shopaholic, I do love clothes, especially refashioning - altering and/or combining items to make new items! During the challenge, I shopped my own closet and refashioned a few things that weren't working for me whenever I wanted something 'new'. In addition, I reacquainted myself with my love of upcycling jewelry, making myself a few new pieces from junk jewelry and/or jewelry I no longer wear to match refashioned outfits. I've been on such a roll I'm even considering opening the shop again!
And the most amazing thing was, I felt so much joy during this personal challenge! Towards the end of the month, I will admit, I was counting the days until I could do a bit of thrift shopping - my favorite place to find items to refashion/upcycle , but I learned so much about how I spend not only my money, but also my time. It was humbling to, as they say, check our privilege as well. So many people don't shop for anything other than food because they can't. Every day for them is a challenge of finding creative solutions when shopping is not an option. I think this was the most valuable lesson my son took away from the experience, and I hope it is one that stays with him. He already has a strong social conscious, so I think it will!
Grounded. Grateful. Overflowing with creativity. Inspired. Happy. Culturally enriched. This is how the challenge left me feeling, and the lessons I learned will stay with me. I encourage you, if possible, to challenge yourself in this same way - take a month and shop for nothing but food. Get the kids on board, too! I am so grateful to Debby and her son Ethan for including us in this challenge. And now, as this sunny Saturday rolls in, it's time to keep those lessons firm and strong. A beautiful day means time in nature, enjoying the sun at sidewalk cafes, taking the dog on long walks, prepping the garden for planting - not wandering department stores and malls for things we don't really need!
Off to the Farmer's Market!