A few people have approached me over the last year regarding my non-shopping journey, though none quite so inspirational as this young lady.
Meet Kim McLeod. She’s vowed that 2016 will be her year of killing consumerism, so she’s sworn off buying all those little luxuries that we’ve convinced ourselves are ‘needs.’
Here’s what she has to say about her journey so far:
1. What has been the most surprising thing? The feeling of walking away from a sale and how quickly I forget about it. When the option to buy something is eliminated it’s kind of freeing!
2. Hardest thing not to buy? Clothes and jewellery! I’m not a big spender, but I never walk away from a sale!
3. Why did you commit to a year of no shopping? I did it because I didn’t think I could and wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to be in control and be able to walk away from a sale. I already have so much stuff and, after visiting Nepal and seeing how content people are with so little, I realized I’d rather save money so I can bless others rather than accumulating things. I also feel like I’ve been called to live simply so after I saw you do it I thought I needed to at least try.
4. What used to be your biggest shopping weakness? Online shopping. Darn those Facebook adverts!
5. No 1 tip for quitting shopping? Avoid all shops. So far so good.
A friend of mine posted this picture a while back, and I saved it because it captivated me. It’s clever, it’s funny and it’s beautiful.
It reminds me of the last time I was in Germany. I regularly saw huge paintings like this on the side of buildings. In a country in which the skies are often grey, things like this can really lift your spirits.
We live in a world that can so often become monotonous. Sometimes it feels like all we do is eat, sleep, work and commute. The cares of this world can weigh us down, and the never-ending power lines, roads, skyscrapers and reams of paper can prevail in sapping the beauty out of life.
But the beauty is still there.
I encourage you, as you go through your day, to look for something beautiful; it can be found in the strangest of places.
I never managed to study in there, though. Instead I’d have to hole up at some 70s style desk, in a dank corner, behind the stacks on level 2, because the beauty of the reading room made study impossible. Sometimes I’d sit in there though, pretending to work. I was always amazed by the air. Unlike the rest of the library, dull, stuffy and smelling of old books (surprise surprise), the reading room seemed to have the natural airflow of a European cathedral.
The reading room embodies my romantic ideas of universities; the paradoxical mix of tradition and history with freedom of thought and inspiration. I love that as I sat there my feet would rest on an old pipe that ran beneath the desk as a testament to a bygone era (someone once told me, the pipes used to carry hot water to keep the students’ feet warm). The old wooden desks, with inkwells in the corners, were inlaid with bottle green leather, and I’d smile as I looked at the various etchings and carved graffiti that I romantically imagined predated the war era (but that were probably circa 1990s).
The Barr Smith reading room made me feel like I was a part of something great; that I was one in a long line of scholars who had and would change the world. It almost whispered to me, ‘Seize the day girl; make your life extraordinary.’