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Friday, September 08, 2006

30 Days Update

If you've been following my family's efforts at 30 Days of Nothing, you know it hasn't been without hurdles.

We've now moved beyond the conversations about the Third World (it seemed they'd gotten as much of the message as they were going to get for now) and have focused on throwaway spending. The first few days were a struggle because you'd think I was asking my children to give away their arms and legs. Now, barely a week into the 30 days, I'm discovering my own weaknesses as well, failing miserably in my efforts to go without.

In the sidebar, you can see the items we've chosen (or been forced) not to purchase. What the sidebar doesn't reveal is the Flash Drive I just had to buy, the birthday gift we still need because of a last-minute party invitation, and the Airtran tickets I'm bound to purchase tonight for our winter vacation, since they just went on sale. Oh, and I'm getting my hair cut. But these are all basic necessities. (right)

So in the spirit of the mission of this blog - which is to empower youth -- I've asked my kids to think of possible solutions to our trainwreck of an experiment. I'm also asking them to set financial goals (spend, save, give). We'll see what they come up with. Stay tuned.

And since "7 Days without pizza delivery" sounds a little lame, I think I'll keep the button while our family learns our lessons about materialism.

To our credit, we're already frugal in some ways, it's clearly difficult for a busy family to shut down spending for a month, and the kids' biggest complaint is caused by candy withdrawl. But our struggle is still a little embarrassing. And eye-opening.

To read more about those participating in 30 Days of Nothing, visit Intent. People are dealing with this issue in many different ways, some more successfully than I. Owlhaven's kids washed clothes in a bucket. And Susan is journaling 30 Days of Gratitude.

I'd love to hear your perspective on this.

UPDATE: Thank you Tonia and Susan for reminding me (in comments) that the process is more important than the product. I know this in general, and needed the reminder that it's true here as well.

More 30 Days posts:
Pre-30 Days
Day 1
Week 1
Week 2

For more participants in this project, visit Intent.
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5 Comments:

  • I'm really enjoying reading your posts about the 30 Days of Nothing campaign with your family. I'm cheering you on! Hooray!

    By Blogger Overwhelmed!, At 9:39 PM  

  • Sounds like a plan... but as for me. 30 days of nothing would be called DEATH! ~ jb///
    P.S. Everyone NEEDS a flash drive!

    By Blogger LZ Blogger, At 10:43 PM  

  • I am finding this hard too.And was surprised that is so.

    But why would I think that WOULD be easy? At times I have a grander, more nobler view of myself than really is. I'm really just a redeemed sinner who LIKES her cush life.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to be "forced" into viewing life through a different lens.

    Maybe you are being too hard on yourself?

    Maybe the fact that you are having these types of conversations and thoughts is THE point?

    Maybe if it were so easy to live differently, poverty would be nullified already.

    I think you and your family are thinking some important thoughts and recognizing some important things and making some important choices.

    Maybe?

    By Blogger Susan, At 11:03 PM  

  • I agree with susan: Maybe the fact that you are having these types of conversations and thoughts is THE point?

    I know our family won't be perfect the whole month. A couple of my boys are having a hard time with this...but the process is so good for them and for me. Really, I am getting a good glimpse of what we need to work on long-term. It's so much more than 30 days, don't you think? It's about learning to be aware for the rest of our lives.

    You've already said no to so many things! Good for you guys. You are doing more than the majority of us.

    Keep going - you are doing great. I'm excited for all you are learning and growing.

    By Anonymous tonia, At 11:34 PM  

  • Do you want me to tell you about the neighborhoods where people share one water tap amongst the lot of them, and use that one tap for giving themselves a shower of sorts, wash their dishes, do their laundry, and everything else? While people drive by and watch because, after all, the tap is at the side of the road?

    Or would you like me to tell you about people here who live in huts with metal sheeting or palm trees for a roof, maybe metal sheeting or old rotted boards for walls (if they have any), the dirt floors, all comprising a space of approximately 6' by 5' (their entire living area) perched at the side of the railroad tracks, barely one or two feet away from a train that rushes by?

    Or I could tell you about the tens of thousands of people who are still living in camps because they still have no housing after the tsunami destroyed the tiny huts they had. I could even mention the people I know who lost all of their family, all relatives, their entire ancestral village wiped away into nothing by the tsunami.

    If you want to hear more real stories about real people, let me know.

    You could also read my other blog at http:/www.srilanka.laurieashton.com - everything's there.

    I applaud you for taking efforts to educate yourselves and your families. Bravo.

    By Anonymous Laurie, At 9:03 AM  

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