Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2018 is off to a good start for all of you. It’s been over ten months since I pressed the pause button on this blog last February. At that time, I didn’t know when or if I would be back to blogging, but I promised to keep you posted on my decisions in that regard. Yes, it has taken me a long time to provide an update, but I didn’t decide on what I would be doing until quite recently.
I recently decided the path I will take regarding blogging…
I actually didn’t expect to stay away for this many months, but the time went by quickly, as it is wont to do. As the months went by, I found myself missing blogging, but I felt confused as to whether or not I should resume writing “Recovering Shopaholic.” I definitely missed the connection with readers, as well as the self-expression and sense of purpose that blogging provided, but I no longer wanted to dedicate so much time and attention to writing about my wardrobe and shopping experiences. Although I still have issues in both areas and am still a recovering shopaholic as opposed to a recovered one, somewhere along the line writing about my journey with such openness and exacting details had become counterproductive for me. I found that focusing so acutely on the specifics of my wardrobe, purchases, and outfits kept me locked into the obsession and compulsion with clothes that I had struggled with for so many years.
I’m grateful for the wonderful comments and emails I received on my last two posts, “Recapping Balance and Striving for Peace” and “The End Game of Project 333 and Capsule Wardrobes.” I’m always happy when my writing resonates with readers and I appreciate those who took the time to let me know that what I wrote was meaningful to them. I’m actually quite proud of these two essays, as well as much of the content I’ve published in the past four years.
The Value of the “Power Pause”
I’ve often written about the “power pause” (a term borrowed from Jill Chivers of “Shop Your Wardrobe”) as a helpful technique for cutting down on mindless shopping and compulsive buying. So many of us feel utterly convinced in the moment that we have to have a particular item of clothing, but if we push ourselves to wait for a couple of days – or even a few hours – that need often dissipates. I use this technique as much as possible, even if it means leaving items in my online shopping cart overnight or having to backtrack to a brick-and-mortar store the next day to buy something. More often than not, I don’t end up purchasing the item in question because the passage of time shows me that it’s just not critical to my wardrobe or my life. I simply don’t need it as much as I thought I did, if at all. The power pause has saved me a lot of money I might have spent on items I didn’t really need or even want. It’s also saved me countless hours spent on making returns, as well as deep feelings of guilt regarding the sheer waste of it all.
So much has been going through my mind since I published my last post. Crystallizing the thoughts I shared with you earlier this month was a breakthrough for me and has created an opening for new breakthroughs. I believe that this is the year when things will finally fall more into place for me after years of feeling stuck in the mire of my anxiety and discontent. Granted, I still feel stuck in many ways, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel, a clearing for a new and better reality.
Seeing a Clearing for a New and Better Reality…
Today’s post is another one I’ve been intending to write since the beginning of the year, but I wasn’t able to slow down and take the time to pull it all together. These more introspective essays don’t necessarily take longer to write than the ones with lots of photos and numbers, but they are more difficult for me to complete. I need to have the internal clarity in order to be able to express myself in a way that makes sense. My brain has felt like a big jumble for quite a while now with so much inner noise that it’s been hard for me to relax or sleep.
Back in September, I attended the San Diego session of Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour.” As I mentioned in my post the following day, knowing that I’d be attending this talk motivated me to create a hypothetical summer Project 333 capsule wardrobe (which I later decided to dress with for the month of October). At that time, I promised to share some of the insights I gained from the Tiny Wardrobe Tour presentation, but I haven’t been able to do so until now…
Courtney Carver’s “Tiny Wardrobe Tour” – September 2016, San Diego
A lot of thoughts came up for me during Courtney’s talk and I found myself on the verge of tears several times. I started capturing my thoughts shortly after the event, but I was unable to finish the post for some reason. I came back to it a couple of times, but ended up leaving it unfinished again. It wasn’t until this week that I was able to complete it to my satisfaction and share my musings here. Sometimes we need to sit with something for a while, and perhaps what’s happened in my life over the ensuing months has helped to crystalize the lessons in my mind.
It’s been over three months since I gave an update on how I’m doing with my gray hair transition, so I thought this would be a good time for me to fill you in on the journey. I’m now at just about the seven month mark and there have been some changes to my transition plan since I last reported on the process back in August. I’m still planning to stay the course, but it definitely hasn’t been easy! In today’s post, I’ll update you on recent new developments and share photos and thoughts on how my transition is progressing.
Since I’ve written quite a few posts about my gray hair transition, I created a new blog category to make it easy to access this content for those who are interested. If you’re pondering the process – or are currently in it – and would like some tips and advice, be sure to check out my “Going Gray & Getting Out of Hair Prison Follow-Up” article, as it is chock full of suggestions from readers and useful links to gray hair transition resources.
As I write this, it’s just three days before my 50th birthday and this post will go live on the big day. I can’t believe it’s almost here! As it has gotten closer and I’ve had other things on my mind, I’ve become less stressed about moving into a new decade and more accepting of it. As many people say, it’s only a number, plus it’s better than the alternative!
It’s hard to think that I probably have less of my life in front of me than behind me and that perhaps my best days are in my past, but I’m trying to develop a more positive perspective on it. I don’t know what the future holds and many people have told me that they are happier and even healthier in their later years. Plus, as my husband says, on my 50th birthday I will be just one day older than the day before! He loved turning 50 and it didn’t bother him at all, so maybe I need to follow his example.
I’ll share more thoughts about my birthday after it has passed, as well as what I want for myself in this new decade of my life. But today I’d like to give you an update on how I’m doing with my theme for 2016, balance. My last balance update was about two months ago, so I feel it’s time for another one, as these reviews help to keep my yearly theme top of mind (and hopefully remind you of your goals and where you are with them as well). Rather than go through all of my balance goals one by one, I will instead share my wins from the past two months, as well as my challenges.
It’s been two months since I last gave an update on how I’m doing with my gray hair transition, so I thought it’s high time that I chime in on how that project is going for me. As a reminder and for those who are new to the blog, I colored my hair for the last time on April 20th. I initially wrote about my issues with my hair back in May, at which time I had not yet made the commitment to transition to my natural color. A price increase at my salon and a friend who had taken the plunge to go gray led me to consider my options and it wasn’t long before I put both feet firmly in the camp of baring my silver roots.
Gray hair can be beautiful!
I decided to stop coloring my hair for several reasons. For one, I was getting my roots touched up every four weeks and they really needed it after just two weeks. I was only happy with my hair color about half the time, and even then I didn’t love the way it looked. It was expensive and time-consuming, plus I had become increasingly chemically sensitive and worried about the impact such frequent hair coloring was having on my health. As time went on, there were more factors in favor of stopping the hair dyeing than there were on the side of continuing it. It was primarily my vanity and sheer habit that were keeping it going for me.