7 Things I've Learned in the First Month of a Depth Year (otherwise known as No Shopping)

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Last month, I posted about my 2018 intention for a Depth Year.  A Depth Year can be different for each person.  For me, it meant no shopping for clothes, shoes or accessories for myself, for one year.  Additionally, no Starbucks and no new hobbies.  A Depth Year is not a punitive resolution, but rather a response to my deep craving for simplicity and precision.  I wanted to streamline my life.  I am one month in.  There is a long way to go, but here are seven things that I have learned so far.

1. I really like nice things.  Let’s just get the elephant out of the room on this one.  I like to think I’m that yogi-in-training who can do this year-long initiative because I don’t care about material goods.  Turns out that I do care.  I like a nice house, nice clothes, a nice latte with a pretty heart design in the middle.  Whatever illusions I had about not being materialistic have been laid bare.  I am well-trained in western materialism.  

2. I buy things to feel good.  I suspect this is why I eliminated Starbucks.  It’s a quick fix.  I also do this with online shopping.  If I’m feeling sad, or unhappy or unappreciated, these are ways to “treat” myself, to make me feel better.  It is the use of something external to affect my internal state.

3. My desire is fickle and fleeting.   I walk by a store window and I want the sweater effortlessly displayed on the mannequin.  And I want it badly.  Then I leave the store and head home and I’ve already forgotten about it.  I see a friend in an adorable pair of boots.  I want them so badly.  Two days later, I can’t even remember what they looked like.  I drive by the Starbucks and am DYING for a chai latte.  An hour later, I have no interest.  It’s like the marketing forces from the stores shine their spotlight on me, and while it’s shining, it’s all I can see.  Then the spotlight moves on and I wake up and realize the desire wasn’t even mine. 

4. Instant Gratification has dulled my senses.    This is a follow-on to fickle and fleeting.  I am so used to acting on instant gratification that my muscle of discernment has atrophied.  I cannot tell the difference between what I want for a moment and what I truly yearn for.  Historically, I simply acquire what I want right away.  Even more, I have taken pride in being able to acquire what I want, when I want.  What I am learning now, is that just because I can, doesn’t mean I am serving my best interests in doing so.

5. I have a lot more head space.  No shopping means shockingly less decisions. 

Me before:  Do I want that?  Don’t I?  Can I justify it?  What would it go well with? Is there one even better or cheaper or more original? Should I get it now or later?

Now: That's cute. I am not getting it.  

6. I have so much support to actually do this for a year.  Friends ask me about this project.  They are interested, sincere and curious.  Once the conversation starts, they often have great ideas to help me through it, or ways they’ve seen others successfully not-shop.  Friends from afar are sending me articles on minimalism, podcasts and other inspirations to support me.  I’ll share them on social media as they come in.  I am chronicling more of this on Instagram here.

7. I am aware of how much I DO have. I’m almost embarrassed to talk about what I’m abstaining from as it feels like the ultimate “first world challenge”.  I am willingly giving up things that 75% of the world doesn’t have access or means to in the first place.   I’ve thought about donating what I’ve saved from not shopping to various humanity programs. I haven't figured it out but if you have suggestions, please respond to this email and let me know.  

To summarize this month, as I stop looking outward for what I don't have, I realize I am surrounded by abundance.

Sooooo, all this extra head space goes towards clients and some upcoming workshops so you get to benefit from me not shopping, too!

with love and simplicity,

Jennifer