How I Yearn to Be Distracted

I made a resolution to write daily and shop less.

So far, shopping less and not buying unnecessary things has been easier. Christmas was just 17 days ago.  So I have more than enough everything and can’t afford to splurge on luxuries right now anyway.  I still browse slickdeals.com, which is a bad sign.  Buying stuff that was a good deal was a big part of 2017’s too much shopping.  And it’s amazing how much a toddler step stool seems like a need if you have nothing else to buy.

But, certainly I do feel a shift away from shopping.  It’s focusing on writing from my often painful interior world that is hardest.  I’d much rather: SHOP, eat, read articles, watch TV, play videogames… really anything else.  After a bad break up 4 years ago, I was miserable and needed to fix my life. So instead of that, I read the entire Harry Potter series almost obsessively.  My therapist viewed it as self care. I viewed it as distraction and avoidance.

Maybe it could be argued that Harry Potter is a very satisfying, fulfilling fiction to read.  I do love those books, even the Order of the Phoenix.

But I definitely see a pattern in my life of picking easy, mundane tasks over big, multi-step projects.  Daily effort towards a goal despite setbacks that come as part of life could be named grit.  I have no grit.

I’d rather do a simple task I don’t think is important than work on developing a meaningful career.  Or learn a language. Or make art.  Or learn and practice a new skill.  I have an ukelele I never plan on learning how to play.  I’d rather do a one-off like mail a friend a package, bake cookies, research something I will never do, go on an errand, than embark on a journey that depends on showing up each day.

Maybe I am afraid of not feeling like doing the work over and over.  Or not making noticable progress even if I do try again and again.  Maybe I won’t make a decision or commit to anything.  Maybe I have a failure mindset and anxiety about failing makes trying impossible.  Maybe I really don’t want to be successful, ambitious, or happy.  Whatever it is, I have no grit.

And I would much rather shop for some item I could live without than write about not being disciplined enough to write everyday.

New Year’s Resolutions 2018

I’ve already failed on my New Year’s Resolutions the first day.  I shopped online and I didn’t journal or write.

Before waking up at 4pm on the 1st day of a new year, I was up all night.  And at the time I was still optimistic about two new goals.

I read about a year of not shopping here and I found it compelling.  I gained weight three years ago and so I know I have enough clothes for any size I might weigh (except more 😲 ).  I could still buy kids’ birthday gifts and do Christmas in 12 months.  Books, children’s clothes, food, household items would all be allowed.  But clothes, toys, shoes, make-up, accessories, furniture and all other sorts of luxuries would be banned for a year.  I could make an exception for tennis shoes if mine fall apart and I kno I need a toddler’s step stool. But I really don’t forsee needing to buy so much of the other stuff I do want to buy.  Although I have bought decorations and paper products for Jake’s past birthday parties, this year balloons and cake would be fine, but the themed plates, napkins, and hanging decorations would not.  

I hope I will see noticeable savings.  It would be exciting in 12 months if I might have a list of items I truly want for Christmas (like tennis shoes).

Honestly, I spent a lot of money last year, even for me, thus I think I have excess of everything.  I shopped a lot.  Probably like the author of the article, I too wanted a distraction from the pessimism I feel so regularly.

Writing is a longterm practice I want to make a daily habit.  Sort of, because I actually feel ambivalence about writing daily since it means I will have to slow down and peek into my current state of being.  I am afraid to deal with my negative feelings.

Which is why I bought myself a pair of leggings and played videogames for almost 12 hours straight.  Shopping and distracting media keep uncomfortable emotions on the peripheral of my consciousness.

So, post one, a day late.  I feel sick and guilty, and don’t want to commit to resolutions I found too hard to keep for even 24 hours.

But I suppose that’s why daily practice matters.  You have to try every day first until you develop  a habit.