Just like with a lot of people, my funds are a little tight these days. Every month when I get paid, I look at everything I want, and more importantly everything I need, and can only manage to chip away a tiny bit at my list. It can take months just to save up for something like a prescription refill or a car repair. So quite awhile ago I gave up on shopping, or more specifically window shopping. While my girlfriends like to go to the mall and look at everything new, I prefer not to see what’s out there. After all, my list is already long enough. I don’t want to add to it any
more. And seeing everything I want and can’t afford just makes me depressed. So when my friends go shopping, I stay home.
However, one side effect that has developed since I started avoiding the malls is that I feel extremely deprived. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way. When you can’t afford the dentist, much less new shoes or the occasional movie, you tend to feel the joy has been sucked out of life – at least that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. So the other day I decided to try to change the way I was feeling – at least a little bit. I have a few things that I’ve been putting off buying for a long time and just can’t wait on any more, like clothes for work, some new bath towels, and an umbrella. So I decided that each payday I would try to buy one small thing. The next time I deposited my paycheck I would go to the mall and some retail outlets to shop. And I did. I went to stores I would normally avoid, as well as those I knew I could afford. By the time I had spent the whole day shopping guess what I had bought? A $4 pair of earrings. I looked at clothes, I shopped for towels, I checked out color choices for rainy day umbrellas. But what I came up with was that I didn’t really love anything I saw, so I decided I could wait a little longer. But I did love those $4 pair of earrings I found at Forever XXI. In fact, after purchasing them I immediately put them on and wore them the rest of the day.
And by the time I had returned home, I had a pleasant surprise. I no longer felt deprived. I was happy with my small purchase. I had spent less than $5, and it was great. So I reevaluated my thoughts on window shopping. Perhaps if I gave myself permission to buy things occasionally I wouldn’t feel like life was so lean. And trusting myself to buy only what I love and what I can afford means I can window shop from time-to-time without feeling the need to buy everything in sight. Life suddenly seemed so much better and richer from that one small change.
And this reminded me of why I started this blog. Joy can often be found in the moment in small things. If I can appreciate these occurrences, then how much more joy will I feel when something truly stupendous happens? So until that time when I’m surrounded by wealth (fingers crossed), I’m going to wear my new earrings often, go shopping occasionally, and smile every night when I come home to my cute elephant teapot! (See “Small Treasures” published May 21, 2011.) And I’m going to count my blessings every day – because in all the ways that matter, I’m already truly blessed.