The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stores, but in ourselves…

I’ll go ahead and put this out there: I love shopping.

I know that this is not an uncommon thing for a woman to admit, actually it’s pretty cliche, but as I try to live a more meaningful life, especially a more mindful life, the idea of shopping just for the sake of shopping is hard to reconcile.

It’s really hard to come home with bags of stuff, be it bok choy, pickles, bread, and radishes one day, or nail polish, make up sponges, new shirts, and socks the next. All of these are things we “need” but not things we need.

I realize that to a certain extent, my shopping is a form of distraction. I go into a store with a list–usually this is a mental list, because those are easier to deviate from, hello! setting myself up for failure here!–and then I can go by the pen/notebook aisle “just to browse” or the makeup section to “see if anything strikes my fancy.” The quotes are not air quotes. No, they are more sinister than that. They are my weak consumerist self, talking to my good, mindful self. Somehow the florescent lights of The Big Red Store (that is so lovely) blind my mindful self; and instead of repeating my mental list like a mantra, I get lost in the colors of the bathing suits. Bathing suits! In February! Summer is coming! I should buy sunscreen! … and I scuttle back to the make up section.

But I know that this is not The Big Red Store’s fault. I do this at the grocery (“yea! pickles!”) and at the mall.

And today I got my tax return back. Oh man. Thanks Mom for getting it to me so quick, but now, once again, I am a kid with a bunch of cash burning a hole in my pocket. I know that I should just be good and put it all on my credit card, pay off the high interest debt, but who really wants to do that?

Especially when there are so many cool things to buy out there.

Le sigh.

Decisions, Decisions. I know I will make a big honking payment on the credit card. I guess what I really want is to feel like I have thought things out. Just last night, I had a respectable amount of money in my bank account, and now, BOOM! tax return happy dance. Tomorrow it could be the property of my credit card company.

What’s sad about this is that I don’t take the same serious view of buying stuff (and junk and crud– which is really all it is, because it’s just clutter after all) as I do about paying off my credit card bill. I spend over 45 minutes this morning trying to figure out the best plan for paying off this bill, and eventually walked away. I NEVER walk out of that Red store empty handed. It’s a pretty rare trip that I spend less than $20 in there.

I guess it goes back to the immediate gratification: I know that buying a new nail polish will make me feel good for a little while, and it will make me feel good every time I put that nail polish on my nails I don’t know that paying off my debt in 10 months will make me feel good, or if I will actually be able to do it. It’s actually kind of scary to think that I may not be able to do it.

I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Part of living in the present is letting the future take care of itself. Why should I worry about making payments 10 months down the road? Worry about today’s payment, today’s money, and today’s errands. Which reminds me, I have to hit The Big Red Store and pick up a hair dryer. Wish me luck!

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2 responses to “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stores, but in ourselves…

  1. Oh this. I can relate incredibly too well. I’d say more, but you already said it better. (Red store, diaper trips, extra money, student loans. Same story, different details.)

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