Not spending doesn’t lead to an immediate space. That is achieved only by removal of clutter, whether material or spiritual. As a regular declutterer I am continually surprised by how much there is to remove. Surely I should be clutter free by now. Yes I am freakishly organised, even my washing line has a strict hanging order (I joke not, I do not let anyone else hang out my washing). As a child being sent to my room was no punishment, it was an opportunity for uninterrupted sorting of my sock drawer or cataloguing of my books. However, what I appear to be doing is organising my clutter rather than actually sorting it into that which is essential, that which I desire and love and that which is superfluous and would be better loved elsewhere.
It is only day one and already I am having a conscience crisis. I need new glasses, my first pair of varifocals are over four years old and I can no longer read with them. I use 160% zoom on the computer and prefer to read my kindle because I can increase the font size. It is becoming a pain. I could have had an appointment at the opticians yesterday but it was inconvenient so I have one today, Ash Wednesday, it is now Lent. Are new glasses essential? I could use my varifocals for everything but reading and switch to my cheap off the shelf reading glasses when the text is too small. I only opted for varifocals originally (before I realised quite how expensive they were) because I didn’t want to have to keep switching glasses and liked to be able to read/knit and watch television at the same time. Ease and vanity not necessity.
To be honest this is precisely the kind of question I had hoped to avoid. I had intended to make a decision based on my conscience and that would be it. This exercise was not intended to be about analysing my spending but curtailing it and analysing why I felt the need to spend and learning to love what I have not what I want. I am already quite cross with myself for being drawn into this discussion.
But life is all about choices from tiny ones to the life changing ones. So perhaps my Lenten challenge will be for me about how I make choices; whether I make them wisely or use good guidelines or criteria. A quick flit though my life and I can see that when it comes to the big ones I make rapid decisions based on instinct (or bodily parts if you prefer – heart/gut whatever!) For goodness sake this is the woman who left her job, upsticked to Scotland to accept a marriage proposal from a man she had only met three times. (Twenty years later we are still happily married btw ). It is the apparently unimportant ones which I mull over and dissect for hours on end. I shall purchase new glasses today but I shall be mindful of the choice I make in the purchase.