Yesterday (Dec. 22nd) was the one year anniversary of me starting this blog. In 2009 I did 5 Posts (1st Post, 2nd Post, 3rd Post, 4th Post-My Ground Rules, My 5th Post-A Video) in the 9 days leading up to my deadline to stop shopping in 2010. I laid out my ground rules, talked about what made me decide to do it, and even shot a video on my MacBook, showing my Dec. 31st frantic 'last shop' haul. It's kind of funny how paltry of a selection it was, but it was also exciting and nerve-wracking to dive into a year of something different. It was also something new that I learned and stuck to for a year.
The year has been, on the whole, very rewarding. Money wise, and getting comfortable with not being able to lazy-shop, or bored-shop, or therapy-shop. I feel like it set me up on a different path that makes a lot of other goals more achievable. It also has made me feel like I can do something hard and unpopular. However, let me say this: I am looking forward to shopping in January 2011 and am a bit afraid about opening the old floodgates. Will it be like the first time I quit smoking? "Guys, I'm cool. I haven't had one in a year. It's no big deal." Fast forward to the end of the week when I'm lighting one cigarette off the next... It took me 3 more years to get up the steam to quit for good. (That was 11 years ago, so now I feel I've well and truly kicked the habit. BUT I also don't even have the odd drag to tempt me.) Soooo, we'll see how cured of the shopping habit I am.
It's funny how I noticed more when I distanced myself from it, how shopping is seen as a hobby, an art form, a form of recreation, therapy, release, exercise, a reward for hard work etc. I have clients who tell me their only fun is shopping. We need to diversify, clearly.
I've been working hard today sending out invites to the icancanu website. I've been doing it on three fronts. One is that it totally suits the spirit of my No New Is Good News year. Share, do favours, help each other out etc. Two is that it helps my brother-in-laws out (it's their baby) by sharing info about the site, they may be able to develop it more. Three is that I really want to win the prize for the most new friends by Dec. 31st. My least noble but most humanoid reason for exerting such an effort. I did sent out a lot of invites today. Sorry, they aren't all personalized. The site did not offer the option of a message with invite. I couldn't do it all at once to look up address, send an email, then go back to icancanu and send invite - and be as productive as I was. I wish I'd had more time and stamina for it. But I did log a good 3 hours to the cause this evening.
One of my most human failings (my mindfulness and CBT homework is teaching me to embrace these qualities FYI), is a need to be, as my wife calls it, 'An A+ Student'. So it's no surprise that I want to win the prize. Not to worry, in some areas of my life I've been really slack (i.e.: messy office) but I do feel like I'm getting a sense of 'Capable Tara' this year by doing what I set out to do. More or less.
I have 9 days to go on No New for Tara. WOW. That's a lot of days I've completed successfully. Can you imagine if I screwed it up now??! Some of my money goals were NOT perfect, but I am so much better off than the year before. I sometimes kick myself for not saving all my Canada Savings Bonds this year (that would have amounted to $7800). Instead, I had to use some for various things that I couldn't pay for. BUT I avoided adding new debt, and still managed to end the year with $3100 in Canada Savings Bonds NOT cashed in. I have also added almost $15,000 to RRSPs this year.
As I've mentioned before, I've also paid off: 1. about $7000 in student loans, and 2. about $5000 in other consumer debt (store cards, credit cards, and loan).
We are far from resolved with it all. But we've also, as a household, reduced our monthly bills-payable by cutting a big chunk from Rogers by cutting cable, land line, and Internet in favour of one cheaper provider - making our lifestyle more manageable and sustainable and getting me closer to that one job dream :)
I've got to wrap this up and hit the sack soon. It's Christmas and if there's a sad cliche, it is that in mental health our line of business does not get slower over the holidays. I need to be on full alert tomorrow and have a jam packed day.
I'm looking forward to time for cruising around to check out other blogs, help my sister edit the 6th draft of her awesome novel, and to hanging with my wife, family and friends, over the next few days.
But make no mistake, I'm also really, really looking forward to shopping in Jan. 2011 - with my list of things I need! I guess that is the difference between a year ago and today. I'm not just going to go bananas (hopefully). I'm going to be working from a list in January. And after that, I'll be about the same as this year...