Resolution Time

(Bottom revised and a clarifying comment from me.)

Based on these numbers, I estimate that I handled over 500 beautiful books yesterday.

I stripped my shelves in high optimism– Yes! We’re *past* the book-pulling stage. Really we are. — and ordered everything according to a new system. (I have been craving this for months.)

Currently I have more unread books in my house than I think I can read in a year. The amount of money I spent on books in the last 13 months is so high I’m not telling you how much.

They were all good books, most of them used (and, so, serendipitously collected), and I bought them as fast as I found them. Which is faster than I can read them, and the whole reason I bought them was to read them.

So now I have determined (God help me) to take a year off of buying. This in order to focus on what God has already provided for me in this fruitful year. My New Year Resolution/Experiment grew out of this.

I want to see if I can go a whole year without buying anything for me. (Yes, I still plan to eat.) Instead, my fun/ freedom/refreshment stuff must all come out of what I already own.

This includes those purchases that I can blame on other catigories (e.g., children’s books, business) that I know are because I am thinking of them at the moment– not because they are true needs of now.

~ ~ ~

Books is just the easiest example of this goal. I also mean it to apply to projects.

I am too easily attracted to new things, and while eating up the learning curve feeds one of my appetites, that passion also pulls my heart and mind away from digging deeper into what I’ve already decided has value.

Under this plan I won’t be taking any new classes this year, and won’t be visiting any craft or book stores (unless it does somehow prove to be a true need? Then we’ll have to work out a different system of checks and balances).

~ ~ ~

There are two big elements of this 2008 project:

  1. Learning creativity and contentment
  2. Re-training myself to simply not look

These two elements working together have reflexively made me more home-focused (I’ve noticed a mind-shift in just the last 24-hours– check with me again in a week), because I am making myself aware of and planning with what’s here and how to use it.

And if I don’t feed my imagination with all the things I can want (#2), it makes #1 easier.

It also frees up my imagination to focus on much more worthy topics. Like how I’m going to show my children that home is a fun place to be. That leaving doesn’t have to automatically = more-fun.

7 thoughts on “Resolution Time

  1. Fascinating observations. I wouldn’t qualify on the books category, but the quilting category? I really should not start anything new this year. I like this resolution. Maybe I’ll join you, after I think about it for a bit.

  2. The importance of the not-looking is a little hard to define.

    It really isn’t so much that we’re big spenders buying stuff all the time. (I felt I had to change the post to correct that implication.) We both come from backgrounds of limited resources, and we’re programed (if you will) to weigh choices with money very carefully.

    We spend a long time looking and thinking (usually on-line) before we go to the store “to look” to buy.

    What looking does is two-fold: it creates/feeds discontent, and it wastes time.

    Now, I’m somebody who thinks anything entertaining can be called a time-waster, so don’t usually take that label all that seriously.

    But my other time-wasters generally feed and improve me (okay, not EverQuest II, but the goal there is relationship– to join my husband in something he enjoys).

    Not-looking also takes a level of discipline and honesty that I’ve sometimes ignored.

    I should look at my urge to “research” something and decide why. Is it because I am looking for a reason to buy it? Why do I need to find a reason?

    Has Jay already said No to the reality so I’m feeding my imagination with the fantasy? Is that my resisting being “subject” to him?

    Lately it’s been about a bird (I’ve been thinking a lot about a special-colored canary we had early in our marriage), and looking at it that frankly is almost cowing enough to let it go now.

    If I haven’t said it already, it comes down to learning how to change myself rather than my environment. If I can’t find my recorder (and I haven’t been able to for months {pout- pout}) that doesn’t mean I go get a new one (even though it’s just $5). I should just choose to do something different.

    I have about 8 months to create an atmosphere in my home that will feed contentment and creativity in all of us. About August, I will begin teaching, and all my kids (and I) will have to live in a new way. I want to start learning before then. I have been praying for specific steps to get there.

    This is what I have so far.

  3. Amy, I greatly admire you for setting this goal for yourself. As I sit here and look around my office, I see so many books that have either been given to me or that I’ve purchased which I haven’t read (“yet”), but two-thirds of the books on my 2008 Books To Read list are books I plan to purchase this year (the ABA books I either already own or will be checking out from the library).

    My main problem is that I’m an impulse shopper. Online shopping has only served to compound this problem . . . because if it’s midnight and I think of something I want, I can hop online and order it, not even paying attention to how much money I’m spending.

    With my first book deal this year, I’ll have to re-think what I’m doing with my money . . . I’ve already spent the advance in my mind about fifty times–there are so many things I “want,” yet none of them are as important as getting my car repaired as well as paying down my student loans, saving money to cover taxes next year, and applying some of that money toward marketing my book to try to make sure it sells (so that I can get another book deal!).

    So, thanks so much for reminding me that this is a major area of my life where I need to really prayerfully determine some goals for 2008.

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  5. I didn’t think the original post made you sound materialistic at all. I think you’ve made a very wise choice to be content with what you have at home. I have a similar problem with craft projects. If I forced myself to wait till I’ve finished every one I have started and lying in pieces before I bought any more materials for new projects, it would be a very long time. I should make that my resolution for this year.

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