Challenge Rule 1: Purchase no clothes or accessories

I need to paint myself into a corner on this one. (I might need more paint!)

Stop pursuing

I intentionally replaced the word buy with the word purchase. This may sound like a simple little replacement, but the nuance comes to life when you know that the French word pourchasser is an etymological ancestor of purchase. Pourchasser means to pursue, like a hunting dog after its prey.

To me, purchase doesn’t just mean exchange money for something. It means stop pursuing. This means I need to uninstall my Amazon App so I don’t browse when I’m bored. It means that I need to steer clear of the shops in town in which I tend to find affordable things I like. It means not visiting my favorite thrift store on their 1€ days.

It means not window shopping along the chic pedestrian streets with the high-end boutiques. In French they call it lécher les vitrines, which literally means to lick the windows. (Special thanks COVID for making that sound unappealing.)

Stop coveting

Another important change this presumes is that I stop making comments about what other people own. My comments, in my defense, are always compliments along the lines of, “Oh! Where did you get this? I want the same!” Or, “When you don’t love it anymore, you know who will!” These are heartfelt comments. I don’t say anything if I can’t say something nice.

I remember the first time I had mask-envy, my unscientific word for coveting someone’s face mask. It was annoying to find myself distracted by yet a new thing of which I didn’t suspect the existence only weeks prior.

Key Performance Indicator

I can’t challenge myself and not get geeky about this, but finding a metric aside from 0€ spent on clothes or accessories doesn’t get to the heart of my issue. Money spent on clothes is part of it, the other part is my incessant need for some new thing.

I intend to simply count the number of times each day I want to get online for a little virtual window licking, how many times I have a covetous thought, or am tempted to make one of my silly compliments.

I would like to see this number go down.

My hope is, by distancing myself from sources of temptation, my desire for new things will go into hibernation.

Have I adequately painted myself into a corner?

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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