It’s my birthday in the next few days.*
I feel funny about celebrating birthdays – on the one hand, I’ve been around the sun one more time** and that’s an absolutely mind-blowingly awesome reason to celebrate, if you think about it.
On the other hand, I didn’t actually do anything to get this far – my mum did all the hard work. Really, I should be celebrating her for having had the patience to raise me to adulthood.
An aside: interestingly, I’m all about celebrating my kids’ birthdays for them. I know – I am nothing if not inconsistent.
In any case, usually, I’d mark the occasion with a big family meal, but obviously that isn’t possible right now, so I will do the next best thing and pledge to buy nothing new for myself for the next 12 months. Because obviously, those two things are basically the same… ?
The thing is, I keep getting asked what I want for my birthday, and honestly – without belittling how rubbish lockdown is in many ways – I want this to continue. I want the swallows to be the only things in my skies, and for all engine noise to stop when the farm parks the tractor at 8pm. I want to sit out in the garden and hear birdsong, and insect life, and smell herbs that I’ve had time to plant.
I’m always telling the kids that we can’t control other people, and that the only thing we have dominion over in this life is ourselves. So I’m going to do what I can do in the hopes that lots of other people have similar thoughts in coming out of lockdown. I’m not going to buy anything new for a year.
I’ve spoken before about having found Jen Gale’s attempt at this utterly fascinating, and having recently seen first hand what a stonking amount of difference consumption can make to our environmental footprint, I figured that I’d have a go myself. I seldom buy new things anyway, so I’m not sure how much of a challenge this will be, but I guess that’s the point – to open our eyes to our own levels of consumption.
I’m going to try and extend this to my children too, but obviously they do things like grow lots, and have pocket money that I can’t spend on their behalf, but we’ll see how we get on.
I think I need to define some rules about what constitutes buying things for me. For example, am I ‘allowed’ to respond with items that I’d like if I’m asked what I want for Christmas? Or does a gift that I’m buying for my friend count as something for myself?
I mean, the easiest thing to do would be to follow Jen’s rules, which are here. The one about new running shoes definitely doesn’t apply to me, and though I think I’ll probably regret saying it, I think I’m able to make soap for hands and shampoo and cleaning so other than washing-up liquid, I’m not certain I’d need to buy any toiletries or cleaning products. I’m definitely on board with brand new underwear only, but as I’ve got patterns for this and a lot of fabric, there’s no reason I can’t make it… I can’t see me running out of crafting stuff either, but there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
So… yeah, I guess for the next 12 months, I’m going to try and not buy anything new. And I’m going to write about it…
Things I expect I’ll miss:
Books: If Covid means the libraries stay closed, I will eventually run out of reading material. Though I suppose I can get the classics via Kindle?
Craft supplies: I might end up breaking my own rules on this one in the run up to Christmas, but mostly I think I’ve got enough stuff to see me through 12 months and then some.
Jeans: I wear through jeans like you wouldn’t believe. And I’ve tried visible mending and machine darning and I still keep wrecking them. It’s not like I don’t have other clothes, mind you – I just never wear them. So maybe this will force me to be a lot more adventurous.
What will probably happen:
I’ll either ace this, and it won’t be an issue, or – I’m not going to lie – I’ll quit because it’s too much work. I hope the later won’t be the case, but I’m a realist and there are various forces at play within my life that I can’t control – there’s an unsteady income, various additional needs to contend with, and a dog which eats everything including his own tail. I’ll do all I can, but I’m only human.
So… that’s that, I guess.
Wish me luck!
*Also, the two year anniversary of my quitting Facebook. Time flies when life is full!
** For a total of 20440 million miles, if my calculations are correct.