Posted by: bipolarmystic | January 20, 2014

The Buy Nothing Project

Recently I came across the “buy nothing project on Facebook.”  This group takes the idea of barter culture a step further and promotes gifting culture.  This means just what it sounds like, you give stuff away with only the expectation that you will receive further down the road.  When you have a need, or a want, and someone has just what you need sitting around gathering dust – then your time will come.  I am so attracted to this idea.  With the new year upon us, it’s time for me to make some changes.  To be honest – I’m a bit terrified.  My classes will be over soon and I will be a graduate with a Master’s degree.  School has been a huge part of my life for a few years now.  I certainly feel like I’m at the crossroads of something new and I am excited!  But also struggling a bit with all the goals I have set for myself.

Major among my goals is to not allow school to take over my life.  This may be a balance some people are able to achieve better than me.  Excellence in academic studies has been ingrained in me.  I easily obsess and take more time than necessary for assignments.  In return, my focus narrows to tunnel vision.  I become stressed and hate what I’m doing because I have no time to do anything else.  In previous semesters I have consciously made the choice not to have a social life in return for focusing on my classes.  I know this is a trade-off many graduate students make, and to some extent, most people make in the United States.  Work for more shit that we don’t have time to enjoy.  You know the drill.  So I’ve been setting time limits on portions of my assignments and trying to stay focused on getting one chunk done at a done to add up to the least amount of time possible.  I think focusing my thoughts before hand will help me immensely.

The start of a new year also means it’s time to start thinking about tax time.  This is always a big undertaking in my family since my husband owns a small business.  It also means a lot of money out of our pocket.  As I examined our spending habits over the previous year, I was horrified at how much useless spending I did.  Seriously, you could hang me by my toenails and I wouldn’t tell you how much of our income went right out the window.  How does this happen when I hate to shop?  Two words: online shopping.  So convenient and what a time-saver!  But beyond the obvious monetary expenses, how much do my shopping choices effect the environment, my peace of mind?  When we moved into a new home in mid-September, we donated an embarrassing quantity of items.  You would not believe the amount of crap I managed to cram into 700 sq. ft. with overflow into the garage!

This can’t be good, folks.  We are also so disconnected from what we buy.  Enter the buy nothing project: not only can you save cash, it’s good for the environment, too.  However, what I love most about the initiative is the obviously tight community that springs from this sort of selflessness.  And don’t we all need more of that in our lives?  I know I do.  This past week my attempts to work on so many goals at once sent me into a manic spiral.  When it came evident to me was the same time my mom was going to Florida.  Why does it always seem to work out this way?  Of course, I have friends that can understand some of what is going on.  But my mom knows my whole struggle and there’s been times when she took care of me because I couldn’t’ drive, couldn’t be alone, etc.

Perhaps most surprising to me was the straw the broke the camels back: my need for control over my schoolwork, my perfectionism.  I am the kind of person that loves to do the most, and to do it early and in excellent fashion.  This past week I tried to take plenty of time to do other things in between chunks of homework.  It worked out perfectly fine.  My assignments were all in at least a day early.  But it just didn’t jive with me.  Which is SO ANNOYING.  Seriously!!!  What am I going to do when my classes are over?  Sit in a corner and cry???  So I guess I’m going to have to try a different approach.  What I’m thinking now is that I should continue to work ahead, but do so in a way that gives me more security.  In other words, finish even earlier.  If I do that, then theoretically I can enjoy free time later in the week, right?  I’m not talking about going crazy with this.  I am going to set careful time limits for my assignments and try to stick with them so I can finish faster.  I’m not going to do more than absolutely necessary.

And every day, I still plan to spend a minimum amount of time on myself.  So strange that my goal this year is to slack off of school, but it’s true!  Some other goals that clearly conflict with school taking over my life include:

-Remember that accomplishments, friends, anything exterior does not define my worth
-Stop feeling guilty for “not doing enough”
-Exercise and eat healthy (usually I do pretty good on this one)
-Listen to my body
-Save more, spend less
-Think about starting a buy nothing project??
-Be creative
-Accept my body
-Don’t feel like you have to get ahead Guess I’m hanging on to that one for now 😡
-Don’t let school take over my life
-Be a better friend / mom / daughter, etc.

What about you – do you set goals for the new year?  Resolutions?

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