Something to look forward to

I love to set goals for myself. I am ultra competitive with myself, which is usually a pretty fun, motivating thing to be, until, of course, I run out of motivation juice.

That’s why my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge has been successful. I know myself, I know what motivates me, and I know how to set rules for myself that will keep me in check.

On it’s surface, the only benefit of a Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge would be that, at the end of the year, I would have spent no money on clothes. But this challenge has never been about money. If you’ll remember with me, this started because a little voice in my heart whispered something while I was walking my boys to school in December of last year:

You need to stop throwing money at your self-worth problems

The voice of reason

The money was not the problem. The problem was my self-worth. The problem was an abusive relationship with myself, which, I have discovered, was, in part, responsible for my ability to self-motivate.

Celebrate everything…

I strongly believe in celebrating successes. Actually, I believe in celebrating everything. At one time in my life, I would have celebrated a small victory with a froufrou drink from the café down the street which cost far more than it was worth, or a trip to the thrift store to sift through their dresses. There was always money involved in these celebrations, although not a lot of it, frugal streak oblige.

Figuring out how to celebrate small successes without money has been a challenge.

During the summer, when I did my video series on Instagram about the Ideal Life, I talked about the triptych of resources we are entrusted at birth to invest throughout our lives: our time, our talent and our treasure. (I find it hard to believe that I wouldn’t have gone into this on the blog, but I can’t find it. It’s worth a few thousand words.)

Removing the treasure resource as a possibility to celebrate success, it left me with my time and my talent.

Therefore, I have set about seeking ways to celebrate my little wins this year which would be an investment in my time (taking an hour to do something I love to do, like knit or spin wool or sew or take a bath or sit on my chaise longue and stare at the sky), or my talent (pick up the viola again after 25 years, play 4-hand piano or just get together with friends and sing and make music in any way possible.)

Something to celebrate

I realized, somewhere in the last few weeks, that when I decided to do my Buy No Clothes in 2021 challenge, I had not set out a way to celebrate its completion.

Obviously, buying something was not how I wanted to celebrate after one year of not buying anything. I needed something to look forward to, that would make these last months of darning my socks worthwhile.

I was with my friend Aline, my co-conspirator in all things music-related (she is the one who shoved a viola into my hands and said, “Here. I need a viola for a string quartet,” to which I shrugged gamely and said, “Okay!”, forgetting that I hadn’t played one in 25 years. FYI: it’s like riding a bike.) She is the one who, for her fortieth birthday, invited thirty people over to her house and had a mini-concert in her (impressive) living room, at which Aline, her children, her parents and, for some reason, I, performed like in some kind of Victorian novel.

She is always up for an adventure, and I have been looking for a way to celebrate the end of my challenge. So we decided we are going to give a candlelight living room Christmas concert. No one who comes has to know that it is to celebrate the end of my challenge. I know. Plus, I intend to wear one of my evening gowns, and squeeze one wear outta that sucker at the last minute before my year is up.

Having something to look forward to as a way to celebrate the end of my challenge has breathed new life into the last months of my challenge. It’s a way to count the weeks left of sock-darning (which, really, has been the only truly annoying thing about the challenge.)

In French, we say that we are going to “marquer le coup,” (an expression which means, “mark the occasion” but feels so much more sophisticated.)

When you set goals for yourself, what would be a non-money way to “marquer le coup?” What would you consider a celebratory way to spend an hour? What talents do you have, which you could invest in a celebratory project?

In my Ideal Life, I celebrate EVERYTHING.

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.

One thought on “Something to look forward to

  1. Good question!! I used to love parties SO MUCH!! But they always involved lots of money (up to $600 for my 50th). Now, I can’t even get up the energy to take a bath, and get dressed for church half the time. I really miss my old life of the party me. (Non alcoholic partying.) At this point in my life, having a 10 hour sleep, without waking up to potty would be a celebration!! (So sad)
    your idea sounds grand!! Take lots of pix to share, ok???


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