Today my little sister, the beautiful Andrea, is sharing her story on my blog. Find out more about the unusual choice she's made and be inspired by her commitment and endurance.
“You’re not buying any clothes for an entire year? But… why?” That’s usually the reaction I get when I explain my lack of interest in a shopping trip or why I keep wearing my dad’s old jumpers. Well I guess it’s time I explained myself. Last June I packed my backpack with mosquito spray, malaria tablets and a few of my oldest clothes and headed to Mozambique, Africa, to help out in an orphanage for two months.
I was intrigued and fascinated by the sheer beauty of the colourful, vibrant country, the people and the culture. However, I was also struck by the stark poverty. The stories of the kids in the orphanage broke my heart. Being surrounded by people living in garbage dumps and children, dressed in rags, playing in the dirt, compliments on my “pretty clothes” filled me with shame. I felt awkward thinking about my two closets full of nice, new and rather unnecessary clothes at home.
So after returning home in August, I promised myself not to go shopping for an entire year, and that all the money I saved that way would go to Africa to support the orphanage. I realised that I don’t need a new pair of shoes to make me happy. I have more than I could ever need.
The start was kind of exhilarating, I felt purposeful and optimistic. It was in the second month that things started to get tougher. One of my good friends was getting married and I naively agreed to a full blown shopping-spree with my girlfriends to assist them in buying dresses. Spending an entire day stuck in little boutiques and shops, surrounded by fabulous dresses, skirts, high heels with a wallet that was for once not entirely empty was no piece of cake! A trip to Stockholm with my friends (where everyone somehow seems to be wearing clothes straight out of a fashion show) didn’t make things easier either, but I've made it this far and it’s actually getting easier over time! I find myself with so much more free time and a clear head. Whenever I do get the urge to run into a shop I tell myself that I have been blessed with so much, and I do not need to define myself through my clothes. I have also gotten much more creative in choosing my outfits, reusing my dad’s old jumpers, flannel shirts, and everything else I can find in our attic (good thing retro is in, huh?).
I am truly glad I decided to fast from shopping this year, and crazily enough I’m enjoying myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still love clothes, and I don’t think shopping is a bad thing, but it should not define you or dominate your life. We live in a consumer culture, which constantly screams at us that we need more, when we already have so much. Meanwhile a vast majority of the world still lives in poverty. As a girl, and a Christian, I found it freeing to step out of the consumer machine and put my life back in perspective.
Funnily enough, the friends who were most surprised by my decision have now decided to join me, and so far three of my closest friends are fasting from clothes with me. We are having a great time supporting each other and sharing our hilarious no-shopping struggles! So to all of you either sick of going clothes-shopping or intrigued by the idea of making a difference in this world: JOIN ME!!! I promise it’s worth it!
Have you made any similar New Years resolutions? Do you want to change the world for the better? Share your thoughts and stories with us!