Beware of what you give up for Lent! My resolution started out innocently enough – to give up shopping for 40 days, nothing for my closet or house, including abstaining from buying freezer and pantry stuff, forcing myself to creatively use what I had from my Costco-laden, stockpiled shelves. After 10 years living in a house with space, every closet and drawer was stuffed, our basement and garage overflowing. It was suffocating emotionally and a time-drain to maintain.
By Easter, we were selling the house, downsizing and pursuing a drastic life change for our family.
One of the first epiphanies gained from this exercise was to realize how retail therapy had become a form of entitlement; an‘ice-pack’ to dull the stress and angst I felt daily and nightly (in the form of anxiety-ridden insomnia) due to my former job. Although the job was requiring way too much from me, I was making good money and I deserved to spend it however I pleased. I bought a lot of frivolous stuff for my kids, my house, my yard and myself.
When that angst was gone, I found I no longer needed to dull and numb myself with trips to TJ Maxx, too much wine and Advil PM. Lent, meant to be an exercise in sacrifice, actually became a ticket to more emotional freedom, more gratitude and a desire to pursue happiness, joy and simplicity.
Is excessive buying, consumerism and retail therapy evidence of a larger source of unhappiness that lies beneath as was certainly the case for me?