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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Bye Buy Outcome

Here we are in mid-January. I have been post-challenge more than two weeks. I have been shopping, been way more selective and been on vacation. The transformation I have experienced has been so great, so life-changing, that I have been gathering an organizing all that I have learned to continue to share it. I was trying to figure out how to print all of the posts I have written when I found myself staring at Day One

My initial post included this:

The Outcome.
Here’s what I hope:
1.      I hope to become more thoughtful about what I purchase.
2.      I will try to re-purpose or re-style my existing pieces.
3.      I hope to spend some of the time previously spent shopping being more productive, better to my family and better to myself.
4.      I hope to save money (we have a kid in college).
5.      I hope that by challenging myself I will begin to take control of the roller coaster that is my life.

I had forgotten that I had even wrote it (the beginning of the challenge is still a bit of a blur because I was so high on the anticipation of a cool challenge). Okay, let's see, did the Bye Buy challenge achieve what I had hoped?

1. More thoughtful? You bet more thoughtful. Downright picky. I see things in a whole new way, and sorry retailers, but you are going to have to up your game.
2. Re-purpose? Well, not so much. I even left a clause in my rules allowing me to sew my own garments and guess how many I made. Zero. I did learn from my favorite existing pieces, though, thus defining my personal style. I also learned that I will rarely alter garments to fit or have them professionally done as is often suggested in magazines. If you do, yay for you. I don't. 
3. Better use of my time? Oh, yeah. Way. I've read more, learned to eat healthier, exercised more, relaxed more, and spent much better quality time with family and friends. I was shopping at least 10 hours per week pre-challenge and I assure you, I found much better ways to spend those hours. 
4. Save money. Yes. A giant yes.
5. Gain control? I would say more than gaining control, what I have learned is that it that I have choices. It is my choice as to what I buy, what I wear, who I spend time with and all the other things that make up my life. It was my choice to step away from my bad buying habits. It is my choice to step back to allow my kids to grow. It is my choice to enjoy our family and do the things I like to do for them. It is my choice to love my husband despite our differences, and choose to spend my life with him. I choose what to eat, and how I take care of myself. I do all of these things because I choose to. Don't have to. Choose to. And choice is POWER. 

I realized something else not on my Day One list. It's the biggest thing of all. I realized that a life spent in a shopping frenzy is a life spent focused on what you do not have. Searching for fulfillment. Seeking a different you. A thinner, prettier, younger, richer, more in control, better styles, smarter, funnier ... the list goes on. 
One year later, I focus on what I have. I am healthy and strong. I am smart and creative. I have a wonderful husband, great kids and a grandson who I adore. I have wonderful friends and we laugh until it hurts. I am not the prettiest, thinnest or best dressed. But I am happy now. Deep down happy. 
On our recent trip to Costa Rica, we were fortunate enough to stay at a very fancy resort. A resort crawling with young, beautiful, rich people including a real, live television star. If you ever want to feel inadequate, sit by the pool here. In spite of that, I am feeling good with my new outlook and decided to just enjoy myself. Don't need to win a pool-side beauty pageant to have a good time. At this resort, we met a lovely couple from Mississippi named Ray and Lorraine. We hit it off immediately. During the week, our crossed paths many times and we compared notes and experiences. At one point, my new best friend, Ray, stopped and said, "you are so beautiful, you have such a beautiful smile." And I think he really meant it! In a sea of beautiful, he saw my happiness. He saw beauty. And that is beauty that 10,000 dresses can not achieve.

So, 4 out of 5 in the possible outcomes, not bad. In fact, pretty darn good.

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