Retail Therapy

Sunday, December 28, 2008, was a black day. I needed advice from a real person regarding my iPod. My younger son needed software for his iPod. My wife had returns to make at Old Navy and The Gap. My older son needed something to do. Thus the stars were aligned for a family trip to the mall.

As a general rule, I hate shopping malls. I also hate crowds, parking lots, food courts, roaming bands of teens and missing a Sunday afternoon of productivity, relaxation, or both, at home. My wife and I share this aversion to shopping malls and we find every reason imaginable to avoid them. Nevertheless, our needs were pressing so we ventured out.

Our experience at the mall was mixed, at best. O

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11 Responses to Retail Therapy

  1. Ann says:

    I actually meditate and do yoga.

    Since I left the stresses of corporate life, my desire to spend has grown less. My meditation has also resulted in a strong, positive realignment of my core beliefs and greater direction to my goals.

    The first couple of years here, I was spending more money than I do now. Part of it was in preparation for my new life — electrical work on the (new) house, some tools to make my creative production easier — but some of it was unnecessary. This past year, I really took a look at why.

    There were a lot of things tangled up together that were influencing my spending habits, my weight problems and my (seeming) inability to stop smoking. What it all boiled down to was that I didn’t value myself, particularly now that I didn’t have my corporate job as an identity. Spending on certain things was a way of saying that I had value. My meditation led me to find that I had a great deal of value that had nothng to do with what I was capable of buying and that I was particularly foolish in not valuing my physical self enough to take care of my body.

    I lost 40 pounds in 2008 and am continuing to build muscle and reduce mass in 2009. I will be breathing free (i.e. a non-smoker) by the end of January and I now question every purchase. When I feel an impulse to buy, I make myself wait for at least 24 hours. If it’s really something I need or want that will get me further in pursuit of my goals, then I go ahead — after carefully searching for the best price and taking into consideration whether there are seasonal sales that I can wait for. Honestly, most of the time I find that I really don’t need orwant what I was considering and drop the whole thing.

    An unexpected bonus of meditating and waiting is a sense of freedom and control. Don’t know why that surprised me, but it did! LOL

  2. Persephone says:

    Congratulations Ann! Your hard work has really paid off. You sound happy and centered. I too left the corporate world and adopted a healthier lifestyle (regular exercise, no-alcohol and an abundance of fruits and vegetables). I now, too, spend less, want less and feel more control over my life.

  3. I agree. Generally, when you have time to breathe and feel a general sense of calm and control, it is easier to be content with all you have. Often when I get busy with work and other obligations and start to feel overwhelmed, it is easier to spend more than normal because I am not as organized (therefore, perhaps, may buy things like groceries or house supplies I already have without realize it or end up buying things I know I have but just can’t find) or just because I am stressed and looking to find contentment in materials things (e.g., cute finds at a boutique, Ross, or Target or sweets from a chocolatier).

    Overall, I think internal peace is great for the soul but also transends to the material world as it gives one the power to think clearly and have a sense of control over their life and their choices.

  4. Ann says:

    Thanks, Persephone! I’ve got a lot more “work” to do but being focused and centered makes a HUGE difference. My ex-boss was talking with an ex-coworker over a year ago and told him that there’s a sign at my exit saying “Happy Ann this way!” LOL That corporate life was killing me.

  5. Texas Girl says:

    That is SO TRUE. I’m a stay-at-home wife of a guy who works on commission, so some weeks are feast and some are famine. I’ve noticed that the months he REALLY brings home the bacon, I always do something completely foolish financially, like bounce several checks, charge more on my CC than I can pay, and end up somehow with lots of new stuff but not enough money to buy a loaf of bread at the end of the month. But the leaner months, we always have more than enough, probably because I’m wise and cautious with my money and not working off a huge ‘wish’ list like I tend to do whenever there’s a surplus in the budget.

  6. Ann says:

    Oh, Texas Girl, in this economy, your (hopefully old) habits don’t sound good!

    In my old corporate days, I used to get annual bonuses. First I used them to pay off all credit card debt and chisel away at my mortgage. Then I just socked it away and viewed it as paying myself for the future I wanted. It paid off ’cause, by the time I left corporate, I had absolutely NO debt of any kind. Talk about freedom! There are so many more options in life when your monthly payments are simply utilities and food and things you need/want.

    Not easy to get there but a nice place to be!

  7. David G. Mitchell says:

    Jules — Thanks for your post. I also thank you for helping me to change my preconceptions about Las Vegas and the people who live there. I won’t be so quick to assume that Las Vegas is merely what we see on TV (the Strip). I also enjoyed reading your Vegas blog!

    Cheers!

  8. David ~ I’m glad you liked reading my blog and that doing so helped you broaden your view of Las Vegas.

    Thank you for your great article. I look forward to reading more.

    Happy 2009 to you and your family!

  9. Spicoli says:

    i agree completlely with you.

    congrats on another insightful article Dave.

  10. Ann says:

    With the brutality of winter setting in and doing its worst, I’ve found that there’s a temptation to do a bit of on-line shopping. Being focused on needs vs. wants and in a calm place overall concerning my life in general helps tremendously in resisting the urge!

    I don’t know whether other people find that bad weather has the same effect on them or not, but I do find it an interesting phenomenon. Maybe it’s based on the urge to connect with people when you’re isolated by snow and cold or maybe the snow and cold just makes you feel like you deserve a “treat.”

  11. Bernz says:

    I find meditating with focus on visualization really works for me well especially in times of stress, but I pretty much do it on a daily basis. I find it more effective also to exercise and do positive self talk (affirmation)at the same time.

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