We’re down to the wire with the end of the year – and the end of the decade! In my last post, I reflected upon my theme for 2019, “freedom,” and how it has impacted my life for the positive. Back in October, I also shared some thoughts about the decade drawing to a close, specifically around what I don’t want to carry forward with me into 2020 and beyond. Now, in my final post of 2019, I will reveal what I have chosen as my word/theme for the coming year and why I have made that selection.
My 2020 Word/Theme
As you may have guessed from the title of today’s post, my 2020 word is “enough.” I actually can’t take full credit for my selecting this word, as it was first chosen by a friend of mine. This friend has similar challenges to me related to overshopping and insecurities about her appearance and her life choices. In an email she sent to me about a month ago, she told me that her 2020 word would be “enough” because she wanted to reinforce that she has enough and she is enough. Upon reading the email, I immediately knew that “enough” was also the right word to guide me in the coming year.
Included below are some of the ways (more to come in future posts…) in which I would like the theme of “enough” to impact my life over the next twelve months.
Enough in the Closet
Let’s start out with the arena in which most of you became acquainted with me, wardrobe and shopping. When I started Recovering Shopaholic back in January 2013 (I can’t believe that was seven years ago!), I felt overwhelmed by a packed closet (almost 400 items!) that was filled with too many pieces that I rarely wore and should have never purchased in the first place. Over the course of the four years of my writing that blog, I shared many wardrobe challenges, experiments, and musings. I also downsized my closet quite a bit and started making better purchasing, wardrobe management, and style choices.
Fortunately, I haven’t returned to my previous levels of closet chaos, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I continue to own more clothing than I need, and I still buy too many items for the lifestyle that I lead. Earlier this year, I embarked upon the “Half Project” challenge as a way of paring my wardrobe down to a level that is less overwhelming and more appropriate for me. I also revisited the “ideal wardrobe size” exercise to determine how many items I need based upon how often I want to wear my clothes, the climate I live in, my regular activities, and the types of garments I like to wear. I came up with 118 items as the target size for my “out and about” wardrobe, which isn’t too far off of my initial “half project” target (137 items) and the 100 item benchmark that I set as a “pipe dream” back in 2013.
I want 2020 to be the year in which I finally reach my wardrobe size goal. But I not only want to have a more pared down closet, I also want my wardrobe to fully meet my needs without a lot of “bloat” or duplication. I want virtually everything in my closet to pull its weight and I want to stop “splitting my wears,” at least for the most part. If I stop buying so many similar pieces (I’m looking at you, black tops and black pants), I think I’ll be able to feel satisfied with a smaller number of garments overall. And if I “slow my roll” with shopping, as I intended to do with the half project but have failed at thus far, I believe that I’ll make better choices in terms of what I’m buying. This has been my biggest challenge thus far, but I’m feeling optimistic that I will finally be able to do it in the coming year.
Enough in the Home
Up until June 2018, when my husband and I bought our house, I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life living in rental units. Because we didn’t own the dwellings in which we resided, there was only so much that we could change, so I mostly accepted the status quo of my living spaces. But when we moved into our own home, all bets were off and we started making changes, many of which were quite substantial. We replaced most of the flooring, overhauled the kitchen (which was spurred on by an unexpected flood back in March), and switched out about a third of our furniture.
Once one aspect of a home is changed, it often draws attention to everything else that feels wrong or “off.” Thus begins a cascade of home improvement that never seems to end. This is both expensive and exhausting. It’s also unnecessary much of the time and tends to stem from the same core discontent that spurs on compulsive shopping for clothes. While I love the changes that we’ve made to our home, I want to slow the roll there as well. I want to feel contented with the way our home looks and stop searching for new ways of making it better. I don’t want to try to keep up with the proverbial Joneses because that’s a battle that can never be won. There will always be people with more money and nicer homes. Plus, I’m not even into having people over, so who am I trying to impress anyway?
I think we can sometimes start down a relatively simple path (i.e. “fixing” a few things), only to find ourselves being diverted into places where we never wanted to go in the first place (i.e. the “rabbit hole”). We had to replace the carpeting in our home because of my chemical sensitivities and the kitchen remodel was facilitated by the flood (we were originally going to put that improvement off for at least a year or two). But everything became more involved and overwhelming than we thought it would be.
We have to remember who we are. My husband and I are not “fancy” people. We were actually quite happy in our two-bedroom apartment and we loved living near the water. It was time for us to move for various reasons, but we don’t need an elaborate house with a lot of bells and whistles. We just need it to be cozy and visually pleasing to us, which it is.
I want to dial back the home improvement in 2020, decide what changes are essential (my 2018 word!), and leave everything else alone. Continuing with the theme of freedom, I want to always remember that simplicity brings freedom. Our home is relatively modest – and that’s okay. It’s actually a great thing because we aren’t living beyond our means with this house. As long as we prioritize and minimize improvements, we will be just fine. I’m grateful for my home and I want to keep that in mind every single day. I spend the bulk of my time there and I’m happy with it, even though it’s not perfect (Note to my perfectionist self: nothing will ever be perfect!).
Low Self-Esteem and Feeling Not Good Enough
Despite being a recovering shopaholic who has struggled with keeping my shopping and spending in check for many years, that’s not the greatest challenge I face. Even my debilitating chronic health issues aren’t my greatest challenge. The most difficult issue in my life is my low self-esteem. For as long as I can remember, I have felt that I am not good enough and that what I do is never enough. I compare myself to others all the time and always find myself lacking in relation to those around me. I’m painfully insecure, which has driven a lot of my compulsive shopping over the years, in that I’ve been trying to buy a feeling that isn’t sold in stores.
I have a lot of shame around what I look like and the choices I’ve made in my life. In terms of my looks, I feel that I should continue to look like the thirty-something version of myself even though I’m now well into my fifties. I hate the fact that I have gained weight and lost muscle tone and have been unable to turn those situations around to my satisfaction. I don’t like that the lines on my face are deepening and that my gray hair isn’t the steely silver that I had hoped it would be. I feel like I look mousy and unattractive, and I worry that I have become “invisible” just like numerous magazine articles warned would happen after I turned fifty. I often feel frumpy and unstylish and I don’t fully know how to dress this new version of my body that still feels alien to me.
But even more than my insecurities about my looks, I feel embarrassed about the trajectory that my work life has taken. I have changed jobs and careers numerous times throughout my adulthood and I have never reached the heights of success that were predicted for me based upon my grades in high school, college, and graduate school. For years now, I haven’t had a good answer to the dreaded “What do you do?” question, and I have avoided many social situations because I didn’t want to get into an uncomfortable conversation in which my inadequacies would be revealed to the person with whom I was conversing. I even hold myself back from reaching out to friends and family members who I haven’t spoken to for a while because I don’t have a “good story to tell.”
I’m Tired of Feeling This Way!
I’m tired of feeling this way and I want it to stop! I’m not sure what my future holds in terms of creative endeavors and career pursuits, but regardless of what I do or don’t do in those arenas, I want to feel like I’m good enough. I want to be proud of who I am and what I have done with my life, even if my choices have been unconventional and even if I would choose differently if I were able to do things over again.
I want to stop holding myself back in conversations because I’m embarrassed of the fact that I don’t really have a “career” and haven’t for years. Yes, I’ve blogged quite a bit (see the bulk of what I’ve written HERE and HERE), I’ve published two e-books, and I’ve taken on a number of contract positions/assignments throughout the past decade-plus, but I haven’t made a lot of money or had a “real job” that looks impressive to others. But what is “success” really and are we “less than” if we haven’t achieved our childhood definition of it or what’s expected of us by society? I have lived my life as if I’m less than and not good enough for far too long and that has kept me feeling separate and lonely.
A few months ago, a woman who I’ve met a few times commented that I’m difficult to get to know. I was surprised that she said that because I thought I’d worked out a way of interacting with others that works for me. I ask a lot of questions and get others talking a lot about themselves so that I don’t have to open up. Most people like talking about themselves, so they don’t even notice how much of a “closed book” I usually am, but this woman was particularly astute. It made me think of what my way of interacting with others costs me. Because I’m so closed in interpersonal situations (yes, pretty much the opposite of how I am on the blog), I don’t connect deeply with many people. I’m always at arm’s length with others, even (or perhaps especially…) with the members of my own family.
Self-Acceptance at Last?
I want 2020 to be the year in which I learn to accept myself for who I am and stop feeling ashamed and thinking I need to be different. It’s painful to live this way and I don’t want to do it anymore! I want to learn to hold my head high and be proud of myself because I have a good heart, I care about other people, and I do my best to live a compassionate and honorable life. I will never be a high-powered career woman and I’ll likely never make a six-figure income. I may never even have a good answer to that stupid and over-asked question, but so what? I know women who I love dearly for whom that is also true and that doesn’t stop me from loving and accepting them for who they are. I want to learn to do that for myself.
I’ve heard that the fifties are the decade in which we finally stop caring about what other people think and instead live more for ourselves. That didn’t happen for me at 50, 51, or 52, but maybe it will finally come to pass for me at 53 or 54 (I turn 54 in August). It’s time… I hope and pray that this is the year when I will finally feel like I am enough. I hope that I’ll also learn that I have enough, but feeling like I am enough is far more important to me. If I end 2020 with a closet that’s still too full but with a fundamental feeling of self-acceptance, I will be elated, but I also hope to achieve my wardrobe and home-related goals. Setting the above intentions is the first step and more will unfold as 2020 gets underway.
Your Thoughts? – And a Few Resources
If you have selected a word/theme for 2020 and would like to share it with me and your fellow readers, I invite you to do so below. If you need some guidance on making your selection, here are a few links to some articles, a free e-course, and a short quiz that can help you:
- One Word Three Sixty Five
- Find Your Word for 2020! (free email course)
- Word of the Year 2020: Tips for Choosing and Ideas
- Word of the Year Ideas for 2020
- 2020 Word of the Year (and 100 Ideas for Yours)
- What’s Your Word? (10 question quiz)
Happy New Year!
With that, I close out the year of 2019 on Full Life Reflections. I didn’t post as often as I’d hoped here, but I did share my thoughts and resources in 22 essays on a variety of topics. I hope to post more often in 2020! You can check out all of my past 2018 and 2019 essays HERE (and the Recovering Shopaholic posts from 2013-2017 HERE).
I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! I hope that you will usher in the new decade with a feeling of optimism and promise for what is to come. I look forward to sharing the journey with you. Thank you for accompanying me on the path toward more happiness, peace, and fulfillment.
May you all feel that you have enough and that you are enough. Blessings to you in 2020 and beyond, my online friends. All the best to you always!