Less than one month into Buy Nothing Year and I’m already noticing major shifts in how I live my life.
On the surface, the biggest changes have been transportation (I cycle or walk everywhere now whereas before, I would drive my car and not think about it) and food (I eat at home or with friends most nights and bring lunch from home or make lunch at work).
But the shifts that are most significant to me aren’t visible. They are taking place inside me. And it’s hard.
It’s so easy to coast, to keep living life, writing the same list of “things to change” week after week. It’s easy to buy lunch and coffees, take a car instead of riding a bike, to remain stuck in the same habits. But more than any of that, it’s been easy to convince myself of this endless “tomorrow”. That there is always time. That it will take care of itself. That it is a matter for another day.
“So what are these barriers that keep people anywhere from reaching anywhere near their real potential?” – Waking Life
For many years, I have wanted to change. I have struggled with time management, filling my schedule with too many commitments, flitting from thing to thing, and never quite settling into anything long enough to have a real impact or do it well, and don’t even ask about punctuality… School, jobs, relationships, friendships. Everything was a roulette of previous commitments, volunteerism, projects, all under the guise of helping others.
I’ve always desired discipline and mastery. I’ve read about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. I’ve wanted to find it for myself – something to devote all my time into, selflessly. I wrote countless lists, tried different techniques to challenge myself to make and keep goals, read books, saw a counsellor. Now, in the process of buying nothing and curbing myself from non-essentials, I am realizing that the barriers to this type of change lie in myself.
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
Last week, I read Geoffrey’s post about accepting resistance, not realizing how much this notion would impact me. Over the past three weeks, I have had to take a hard look at myself, my psyche and my motivations. Confront the inner obstacles to simplifying my life. Prioritize people and commitments. Identify my key motivators so that I can work at shifting them to be more in line with my values. Letting go of “stuff” made me realize how much I physically hold onto, but what I didn’t expect was for one decision – to stop buying things – to completely change how I look at my time, relationships and life goals.
This is Real. Change. And it’s hard.
It’s been a fast shift, but I know that with our three-phase experiment, one-year timeframe and acceptance and commitment approach, I’m on the right track to sustained, mindful lifestyle changes.
Is this ringing a bell for anyone? Tell us about a time you got “unstuck” or something you need to change in your life right now.