This post is not about crochet. It’s a classic display of Doralospohy! I’ve been thinking again…
This week I have spent some time being the voice of reason and talking 3 different friends down off various ceilings. They are all struggling with very different challenges and it has made me reflect on my own experiences, as these things often do.
For a while now I have been more consciously thinking about my life – examining and reshaping the way I want to live, mulling over what I can do to wake myself up to those habits I’m not even aware of, asking how I can make the most of the time I have on this little planet.
It’s one of those things where I’m not even sure when it started but I’m slowly starting to view life through a new lens. The first part of 2016 was a particularly difficult period for me, one of those times where you’re getting hit from every angle, love, family, work and friendship in my case. At some stage during that time something in me changed. I struggle to explain it articulately, but it’s like my brain got to the point where it refused to raise my stress levels anymore. Whether it was the gazillion psychology books and articles I’ve read over the years paying off, an unconscious act of self-preservation or some kind of mental reset after being in the red zone for too long, it was like my mind switched to the emergency back-up generator and just prioritised what was really worth worrying about. The rest just kind of fell away and somehow I found a way to deal only with what was in front of me at that moment, rather than my normal unhelpful strategy of catastrophising about what might be (but usually wasn’t) around the corner.
I think this is probably quite a standard way to deal with exceptionally stressful times, but the great thing for me this time was that after the storm passed, my mind never fully switched back to the anxiety ridden worrier it had always been (though I definitely still have my moments!).
Sometimes events can change you for the worse and the better at the same time. Learning you can survive your worst case scenarios is so tough but incredibly liberating.
It has lead me to quit my job with no real plan for what is next.
It has led to me sitting here on my sofa, on a Friday afternoon with a huge hole in the wall to my left where I am finally doing some renovations I have been thinking about for years.
It has led me to begin designing my own crochet creations (ok so crochet did sneak in there).
It has led me to write this blog.
It has also led me to read a lot more and, thanks to The Handmaid’s Tale shown on More 4 in the UK (if you haven’t seen it WATCH IT), it has let me to Margaret Atwood and her MaddAddam trilogy which is set in a future world where most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus. Nothing spectacularly new in that plot line but what got me, and what has stuck with me in the past couple of months since I read all three books is the means by which the apocalypse was reached. That the dystopian future world she describes is really not that many steps away from where we are already headed… and that is some scary shit!
I’ve always considered myself as someone who is conscious about environmental and social issues, but know I am somewhat of a hypocrite as I have a lot of unhelpful habits and I’m far from being an eco-warrior or any sort of anti capitalist. However, these books presented the issues in a way that has seriously look at these conflicts and made me ask questions like:
How much crap is injected into the animals I eat, how are they treated and killed?
Do I really need 3 layers of plastic packaging on that prepared fruit?
Should I be eating out of season foods which create a huge global foot print to grow all year round?
What conditions do those Indonesian workers who make my clothes live in?
How old was the child who sewed on those sequins?
Are those guys who wash my car in the supermarket actually part of the modern slave trade?
Does the stuff I put in the blue bins all really get recycled or do those plastic bags end up in the South China Sea?
I think I’m a good person but how much am I ignoring to reduce my cognitive dissonance because I don’t feel I can do anything about it? There is just so much to question that what is the point in trying to do anything about any of it. Where would you even start? Can one person really make a difference?
Well of course they bloody well can. Maybe not in dramatic ways like Bill Gates , Marie Curie or Tim Berners Lee but we all have a level of social responsibility and we all impact each other.
I have been seriously considering going vegetarian but I’m going to be honest and say I’m not ready for that. Instead I am making a move to try and only eat organic meat but I am just not ready to give up bacon sarnies. Sorry.
One of the things which increasingly bothers me is the huge over consumption and waste we produce.
Now that feels more like something I could work with.
Every now and then I have a big wardrobe cull and send a load of stuff to the charity shop – normally so I can make some room in my wardrobe for all the new bits I couldn’t resist. Usually it’s at the end of a season where I think “I didn’t wear that sweater once this winter – it’s going to someone who actually needs it to keep warm”
So I have settled on the following challenge:
For the next year, I am not going to buy any new clothes.
You read that right – for a WHOLE YEAR! This is from the girl who is a serious H&M addict. I feel a bit sick.
I would like to say that I will refrain from buying anything new at all but I am nothing if not a realist!
So this is what my wardrobe currently looks like… (I won’t mention the chest of draws or the storage containers under the bed…)
I hope, if nothing else, this will make me think about my purchasing habits a little more and ask the questions, do I really need it? Will it enrich my life or am I just filling a temporary emotional vacuum? Oh and if helps my sewing skills, my creative thinking and saves me some cash then so much the better!
So, I should set some guidelines I suppose!
Start Date: right now – August 25th 2017.
What’s classed as new? Any clothes, bags, shoes (yes, shoes!), accessories never before worn & available for purchase on the hight street / online.
What are the exceptions?
Purchases can be made from charity / second hand shops
Upcycling / re-purposing is encouraged
Underwear and hosiery are excluded (I have limits!)
Borrowing /clothes swapping is recommended – maybe I’ll even have a clothes swapping party – who wants to come?
Unique / handmade items are allowed in exceptional circumstances – I will never stop supporting independent makers!
There it is, I’ve put it in writing, hell, I’m going to give it a hashtag seeing as yesterday was the hashtag’s 10th birthday, how about #notonew? It only has 9 public posts on instagram at the moment. Lets make this social too – if anyone wants to play along with me then please do and hashtag it on whatever forum you play on. Even if it’s just giving up new shoes or bags or whatever your weakness is – go for it! Try!
I appreciate it’s not much by many standards. But it’s something, it’s a step in the right direction and that’s how all good journeys begin!
Have you challenged yourself? I’d love to hear your story. I have a feeling I’m going to need some inspirational people to motivate me through this!
P.S. – here is a picture of the hole in the wall for those of you who enjoy such things…