Shop-stinance: Challenge Complete – Part II

What’d you buy?

I woke up this morning and placed an order online. My first purchase since committing to this endeavor and completed it. It was not what I had intended to buy or how I planned to end this story, but it was my first order nevertheless.

Originally the idea that I talked to Yvonne about the other day was making a coffee table book of these entries, because wouldn’t that be a sentimental and perfect ending? Realistically the problem with this is that a blog format works well for these entries online, but would need some work to translate it to the coffee table edition. I didn’t want to have to wait for the editing room, resolving links, and recropping everything to be able to claim my prized first purchase. Instead I just typed in a url and clicked on a couple of pages and will soon have on it’s way brand new — more on that later.

Throughout my 40 days several friends both inspired me and proactively helped me come up with material to write about. Coming up with topics after I had explained through almost every detail of my shopping processes became difficult.

On a daily basis I’d complain to Joshua that I would have nothing left in me, or that I felt like my last post was boring. Time and time again I’d receive his reassurance that he truly enjoyed it and thought of it as a spoiler that I would think any of the posts as boring. He’d often reply with something to the effect of, “Honestly, if I didn’t really enjoy it, you know I’d just ignore you when you wanted to talk about it. That’s our way.”

Last week when I was complaining again he tells me “You know you never wrote about what you’ve learned throughout this journey. Why don’t you write about that?” Then I reveal that I’ve been saving in for the finale all along.

So what did I learn?

Blogging every day is work. I decided early on that I would use the time in the morning that I originally allocated towards shopping to write my posts, but midway through the process I realized it wasn’t enough time to organized my thoughts. I would post an entry, then go back and edit at least 4 times throughout the day before I was happy with it. Slowly the posts moved into the night, or would be 1 day delayed and on vacation I stopped all together, but I was intent on posting something for every day on the journey.

By not shopping I spent my free time learning to make things with my Nomiku, eBaying, connecting with friends, and enjoying traveling. It’s funny, I’ve been to New York four times now and this is the first time I felt like I conquered it because I wasn’t spending time looking for an acquisition that would perfectly commemorate the trip.

When you publish something to the world you need to be ready for people to judge you. The definition of non-necessity was a debate that stirred other tangential topics. My biggest issue with feedback was a lack of understanding from the people giving it. We all perceive the world differently, have disparate motivations, goals, and loves. As much as we think we know someone, and how applicable we think our suggestions are, we cannot be aligned nor should we be on every topic.

The argument I hear often from people giving unsolicited advice is “Be more open minded.” Whenever I hear this, it is immediately translated into “Take on my perspective of the situation.” If your only argument is that I should change my view to yours then you’ve missed the point and have done a poor job explaining why your view is a solid solution, and why it fit my needs. The people I usually seek advice from are my experts as they are able to put themselves in my shoes when they are giving advice.

During 40 days I transfered my interest of shopping towards selling things via eBay. Immediately when I mention I’m a seller on eBay, I received advice to solve the perceived problem: “I’m wasting a lot of time eBaying.” However, this isn’t my problem. Nor was I asking for advice on it. Ebay is an enjoyable hobby for me there is an exhilaration you get from selling things and has been my the solution to another problem: “I have a lot of brand new items or used items that have maintained a reasonable value that I do not use, consignment stores won’t take, but I don’t want to give away.” I’ve never figured out why some people like to push their opinions before listening.

On the contrary to all the unsolicited solutions to problems I have yet to experience, I can’t tell you how many of my friends reached out to me on various occasions to cheer me on about Shopstinance. They helped me realize that it wasn’t necessarily the processes that people were interested in, but ability to be a part of the small joys of my every day. They wanted to chat about what happened on the latest entry, or a detail they liked. No one said my idea was lame (to my face at least) and everyone was extremely encouraging.

  • Jade told me that she now considers eBay a legitimate marketplace just because I mentioned it often.
  • Patricia in an act of solidarity began selling things through eBay, as well as limiting herself to only gift card purchases for non-essentials.
  • Yvo mentioned she was inspired enough to start journaling.
  • Lisa Q. who I met once at a party, reached out to laugh with me about how all my nearest and dearests thought I was an addict and recommend it to all her friends and followers. The one day she mentioned Shopstinance on social networks my readership tripled.
  • I often felt like I had nothing to say, and I wanted to give up but Laurie gave me a pep talk and encouragement which made all the difference.
  • Emily and I talked about the process of blogging a lot during this timeframe, it was really nice to have a fellow blogger to talk about the difficulties and the work that is involved in creating a blog and readership.
  • Joshua I talked to almost every day about it. I cherished this time and he was inspired to write his own posts on medium.

Countless other people chimed in with their thoughts, love, and support, “likes” on the facebooks and friends gave surprise gifts to help me throughout my Shopstinance. The unexpected comments were the best surprise, as there were people that I just didn’t think would be in my target demographic for reading a blog about shopping.

Over 40 days of content Shopstinance is just over a 138 minute read. In the end I had 177 full reads and over 1400 views. The people and conversations made it fun, and being able to have the time to reflect on each day and share how I view the world was invigorating.

So finally what did I end up buying? This is probably kind of lame, but I bought a shelf for my office, a body fat scale, printer ink, purifying filter replacement for my fridge, and Simple Human Trash bags.

Now that Shopstinance is over, what’s the next challenge? No eating out for 40 days? Exercising for 40 days? I’m not sure yet but whatever it is you will be able to follow along here.

P.S. I honestly didn’t think I would binge shop after this was all over, but I totally am. BUY ALL THE THINGS!

Thanks again for reading.

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