Let me spoil it for you — this is not a post full of excuses.
It was so cold out this weekend that I realized it was time for me to look for a winter coat. I had put it off over the past month, since I also needed new fall jackets (one fleece, one water resistant). I also have that November shopping trip planned with a set budget, but knew I couldn’t wait another couple of weeks to get a thick, warm coat. I decided to shop and decided not to shop, back and forth, all day Saturday. Finally I asked my husband. Yes, I know he’s a practical person and would say of course, go get a coat. But I also talked to him about everything I put in this blog over the past few days. I asked him if he thought I was just giving myself an excuse to shop and would end up in trouble. He repeated, get the coat. I cowered, terrified at the thought of stepping inside a store.
Then I started thinking about my planned shopping trip. Did I really need to delay it? What if I made Sunday my shopping day instead, keeping the same set budget and wishlist in mind, just adding the coat in as the primary goal? I breathed a sigh of relief. It was actually a pretty good solution for me.
As I drove to the store, I made sure to stay calm and focused. I kept the crazy internal butterflies at bay and kept repeating to myself that this is not a free-for-all, this is not a thrill ride, this is just practical shopping for the items that I need now and can afford. It’s silly to think of the effort it took to keep my heart rate down and my palms dry, but it was worth it. It worked. I felt so normal, or what I imagine people without this problem feel like when they shop. Except that I was thinking about all these things the whole time. I’m sure normal people don’t do that.
I found exactly the coat I was looking for plus three items from my list, spent 1/4 of my budget, and had zero guilt or shame. My head felt so clear. It was a refreshing and new shopping experience for me.
Today I found myself with some free time for the only time this week, and tried the same thing again. (If this sounds like a lot of shopping, I went through my closet yesterday and saw many short-sleeved and sleeveless tops, but a dearth of long-sleeved tops and sweaters.) I went to a specific store with a specific mission and a very limited amount of time. I kept calm, found some of the items I was looking for, and spent another 1/4 of the budget. That leaves half of my budget that I can … well … not stress over. I may or may not plan a “big” shopping trip in November. It won’t be as big as originally planned, but it will be under control. I might buy one thing, or a few essential things, or nothing. I will shop calmly and not let an adrenaline rush form in my system.
Someday this might come naturally. But for now, I’ll keep reminding myself to take deep breaths and not let my emotions take over. Maybe I’ll have more and more positive shopping experiences going forward. I would say “One can dream,” except that I know it really will happen!