I’ve noticed a common theme in conversations with friends the last few months. These friends have made big, bold decisions.…… and are now questioning if that’s what they really want/if they’re happy/if that’s the best path forward for them.
To my friends, I say it’s ok to change your mind.
I’ll say it again for my friends in the back. It’s ok to change your mind!
It’s perfectly fine for you to try something out and decide it’s not for you. It doesn’t matter how much time you spent talking up the changes to friends, family, and random strangers in the parking lot at the grocery store. If something isn’t working for you, you can go back to what did work for you.
I have some examples from friends in the community (different friends than the ones mentioned above). Since the following people have talked about it on their blogs, I feel ok with using their stories and names as an example in this post. (I did also ask them if it was ok to use their likeness as well because I’m a good blogger who doesn’t assume :D)
My friend Tonya at Budget on the Beach decided to stretch her wings and figure out what life looked like in Boise, Idaho. As you might have guessed from her name, she’s been in a beachy environment the last few years (or more lol). LA, specifically.
LA to Boise is quite the change, and Tonya quickly realized she actually didn’t belong in Boise like she did in LA. There’s no beach volleyball in Boise, just a few outside volleyball courts one can use a couple months out of the year. For someone who loves beach volleyball as much as Tonya does, that’s a problem. She also took a regular office job while there and quit that after a few months after she realized it wasn’t positively contributing towards her mental state.
So, Tonya packed everything back up and moved back to LA. She still doesn’t have all the answers, but at least she is in the right spot to figure it all out.
My friend Liz over at Frugalwoods had a clothing ban go on for 3 years. 3 years! That is hugely inspirational, especially when you consider she had 2 kids in that time frame. She didn’t buy any clothes at all — not from the thrift shop, not from a garage sale and definitely not from a store. She did get clothes for free from family members, friends and her Buy Nothing Group, which is super useful when you change sizes as your body changes from having babies.
I’ve been following Liz’s story for a long time. I don’t even remember how long I’ve been reading! She’s been a fantastic source of frugal inspo for me, from introducing me to the Buy Nothing groups to hacking your own home seltzer setup to the clothing ban. I didn’t buy clothing for a long time because of her stance on buying clothes.
Well, in 2017, she wrote a post about the end to her clothing ban. Basically, there were things she genuinely needed for their new life on the homestead that she wasn’t buying because of the ban. The item that broke the ban? Muck boots! A very useful item to have when you live on a homestead!
Then, this year, she wrote a post that was an in-depth reflection on her relationship with clothes. I think it’s easy to go to extremes in the world. First, she bought too many clothes (even if they were from the thrift store or garage sales). Then, she went too far in the other direction and banned buying clothes all together. But… was that the best solution for her long-term? Did those free clothes make her happy or feel at home in her new body after the babies?
She realized that a change was needed with her wardrobe. She gave herself permission to make the changes she needed to live a better life. If that better life looks like getting rid of a ton of clothes you’ll never wear again and buying 4 of the same pair of leggings, why wouldn’t you make that choice? Especially when you have the money on hand to buy clothes that help you feel your best.
Like I said earlier, I take a lot of inspiration from Liz and other bloggers in the community. Hell, I got into the FIRE lifestyle by implementing a lot of Mr Money Mustache’s ideas into my life. I’m not quite “Mean-Girls-copying-Cady-Heron” level of dedication, but I consider what they have to say and try out some of it in my life.
I haven’t been on a strict clothing ban stretching over the years, but I have been conscious of bringing new clothes into the house. I am determined to wear my clothes as much as I possibly can. This lets me get great value out of the money I spent on them, and also helps combat excess waste like from the fast fashion industry.
I bought sweaters in the fall of 2013 before I started my first professional office job. They looked really nice and I got a lot of wear out of them. The thing I’ve been struggling with is when is too long? I’ve had these sweaters 6 years now. Do I have the same fashion style as a 29 year old as I did when I was 23? Not really.
I gave myself permission to update my wardrobe this year. I’ve spent a fair amount of money on clothes this year, probably more than the last 2–3 years combined. Add in the money I spent on the personal stylist consultations and that’s probably more money spent this year than the last 6 years combined. I tried really hard not to spend money on clothes the last 6 years. But, I recognized the need for change and have now started to reap the gains from it. I feel better about myself and more confident, knowing I’m wearing clothes that help me look my best. Those sweaters I bought in 2013? Actively getting phased out of my wardrobe in favor of outfits like the one I wore below.
That picture was taken by my amazing sister in the lobby of a hotel in downtown St Louis.
What was I doing in a hotel in downtown St Louis with my sister on a Thursday night? Excellent question.
I’ve realized in the last few weeks that my current company is not one I want to be at long term. So, when a company recruited me to work for them, I interviewed for the position. The company ultimately went with someone who was a better fit, which I discussed in detail here. Getting denied by that company was kind of like a hard switch in me got flipped. It made me re-examine pretty much everything in my life. Why do I do the things I do?
I realized I don’t have very many reasons to stay in DC. I like living here, I’ve met some amazing people and had some fantastic experiences. However, I’m not from here. I don’t have family anywhere around me. Life here in DC is expensive and if I’m not getting paid enough to live here, why stay?
A friend was talking about having trouble filling a position on his team in a group chat. We asked him more details and it turns out the job would be a very good fit for my skills, so I applied. I would absolutely love to move back to the Midwest. I have no reasons to stay in DC, and many reasons to move back closer to home. It was a bit of a mindset shift to say where I went to college and have people not only know where it is, but react positively about it. My phone number is from an area code around St Louis. My St Louis Cardinals necklace didn’t look out of place in the slightest.
I think the job would be very interesting to have! Everyone I met was genuinely nice and welcoming, so the company seems like a great place to work and have a career. I’m willing to move to try out life at a different company, but I want to find a place where I can stay for the foreseeable future. I’m tired of moving around so much. Now that I don’t want to retire at 35, I want to find a company where I can settle in and stay for 10, 15, 20 years. This company seems like the place to do so.
I’m in the middle of the interview process, so nothing is set in stone. If I don’t get this position, I’ll wait a few months until my security clearance is renewed and pick up the job search then. I think somewhere in the Midwest would be ideal for me to settle down — not home but close to home. Somewhere like St Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, Madison or Minneapolis would work well for me.
Before I leave you with just a picture of the world I know best, I’ll offer more words of comfort and advice.
At least, I hope you find them comforting.…
Anyways, when making a big decision, just remember you don’t have to stick with it if you don’t want to. You might not be able to go back to your exact pre-decision situation, but at least you’ll know what works best for you and can go about building that life. A move to a different city didn’t work out? Move back. A clothing ban is no longer serving your best interests? Go buy some new clothes that make you feel fabulous!
Our lives are too short to be stuck in something that isn’t working for us. We are not trees — we can change our situation any time we want.
Thanks for reading! Have you made a big decision and later went back? Let us know in the comments!