Monday, May 20, 2013
The Value of a Thing
Look at the quote to the left...the one by my picture. The one about how it's not how much we HAVE but how much we ENJOY that matters...
I put that quote there because it's something I aspire to. It's not something I've arrived at.
Many of you who know me know that I love to shop. As a matter of fact, just the other day when I quickly thought about a few of my favourite things, scrapbooking, Starbucks, and shopping were right at the top.
Nothing wrong with that. Right?
Yes. And no. There's nothing inherently wrong with scrapbooking, a cup of happy, and a cute new pair of earrings. The problem is, I'm never satisfied.
This year, I decided to give up all shopping for lent. I'm not catholic, but often I like to practice lent because I've often experienced it to be a helpful spiritual exercise. This year, it was a 40 day round
of practicing self-control. Surprisingly, I didn't find it too hard.
Also surprisingly, the most amazing epiphanies happened AFTER lent was over:
1) I really really really like having a ZERO balance on our credit cards!!!!
2) Shopping is something of an addiction to me, and I found myself chomping at the bit to get back into those stores!
and, the most incredible part:
3) Shopping hasn't given me the same thrill ever since this fateful last Easter Sunday.
You may wonder how epiphanies #2 and #3 can coincide. It's sort of like this: the smoker quits and feels great relief. But, then all of a sudden they pick it up again, out of habit or whatever...and they just don't LOVE it anymore.
So, that's it: I just don't LOVE it anymore. It's a habit - be it good or bad, affordable or not. I do it because it's what I'm used to doing. But, I don't seem to get that enticing, exciting, over the moon happy thrilling FEELING anymore.
Take a couple weeks ago as an example. I was in Oregon...yes, OREGON: the tax-free shopping capital of the west coast! And...not only was I in Oregon, I was at OUTLETS! Outlet prices, outlet selections, outlets for hours and hours...
I hardly bought a thing.
Now, what I DID buy I truly adore. I didn't settle for something "on sale" and I didn't buy things just because they were a good deal. I only bought things I was actually looking for (namely summer dresses that were long enough for a busy toddler-mother). And, even when I was buying these things, I really didn't get my usual high.
We've been working on our will these days. It's a sobering project - something all responsible parents need to get around to at some point. Do you know what our will calls all of our belongings? ALL of our belongings??
Yes, residue. Like the film inside my veggie drawer that develops after something rots. Like the red layer of slime gathering around my bathtub drain. Like the white blanket of dust over my oak bookshelves. Residue. Something extra left behind.
THAT'S what I spend our money on?? That's what stresses us out financially?? That's what I waste countless hours accumulating?? That's what I daydream about??
Makes the thrill of the shoppping experience a little less enticing, a little less addictive, a little less thrilling.
And that's okay. There are lots of other fun things to do that don't require shopping...like scrapbooking! And, playing with Evalie! And, baking chocolate cake! And ...