I just finished reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, who I’m now convinced needs to be my BFF stat. Based on its short description, I checked this e-book out from the library with a few others without giving it too much thought – and that decision turned out to be a total game-changer.
The story opens with finance blogger Cait (y’all all need to check her out here) announcing a year-long shopping ban to her friends, family and ultimately blog readers. She’d already used her blog to document her journey of paying off $30,000 in consumer debt over two years, and she was ready to take things a step further.
Not only did she lay out the rules to her shopping ban, which were basically not purchasing anything that wasn’t on her list of pre-ordained items, she also took this as an opportunity to Marie Kondo her living space before we were all watching Marie Kondo on Netflix. Cait eventually found that about 75% of her things weren’t sparking joy and had to go.
By the end of the year, she’d quit her job to work for herself and re-upped the shopping ban for another year. Obviously, I’m drastically drilling down the plot points – but after making it through the entire book, Cait’s story helped me see that I want to live more like her.
Over recent years, I’ve started working in that direction. With multiple moves and my small living space, I’ve taken the opportunity to dwindle down the items I actually need in my life. And I’ve found that while having a lot of things may provide some people with a feeling of comfort and security, I honestly feel tremendously less anxious without so much extraneous and unnecessary stuff in my space and life.
When I choose to spend money now, I’m making the conscious choice to spend it on experiences instead of things. At this point in my life, I’d much rather spend my hard-earned dollars on a show ticket for a memorable evening of theater than on a watch that will likely sit untouched in a drawer or a pair of shoes that will collect dust in the closet.
As for Cait’s decision to leave her full-time job to work for herself, that’s a dream that I’ll continue to harbor for myself. I don’t know exactly how or when that may ever be possible for me, but at the start of Cait’s book and year-long shopping ban experiment, it wasn’t something she had in her planner either.
We never know what’s just around the corner for any of us, which is what makes life so exciting and, frankly, terrifying at the same time. I can, at least, promise to keep working on myself so that I’m ready for whatever opportunities the universe throws my way.