Saturday, May 4, 2019

The First Test

Well, that didn't take long. Three days in to my year-long shopping ban, I faced the first test of my resolve.

Spoilers: I did good. My commitment to the challenge won out over temptation, but I'm not ashamed to say I was sorely tested.

My saga began when my first born asked if I would like to meet her at Cost Plus World Market so she could show me some things she might want for her upcoming birthday.

Of course, I replied. The constraints of the shopping ban flickered in the back of my mind but I wasn't worried. This trip was all about her gifts, right? Surely I could stay true to that purpose.

By the time I caught up with her, my daughter's cart was half full of adorable items. Her goal is to ask for birthday gifts to zhuzh up her patio space, so she had gathered up a handful of adorable outdoor items: a seat cushion, some pillows, a floor mat, string lights, that sort of thing.

I love that sort of thing.

Suddenly I was intoxicated. I felt a sudden rush of warmth - adrenaline, I suppose - and a irrational desire to buy something - anything! - to spunk up my own outdoor space.

Oh, there was so much to choose from.

^Natural rattan candle lantern, made in Vietnam. Want.

^ Whoever invented solar powered string lights, I love you. 

^ A long, unbroken wall runs along one side of my front patio, and this hanging would be perfect for adding some textural interest. 

^ Orange, geometric, and metal. Three adorable characteristics for a side table. 

^ I am a huge fan of outdoor mats. They feel so cozy on my always bare feet. 

^ Those tassels are too much. In all the right ways. 

^ This pattern strikes me as the perfect balance between busy and calming. 

^ Outdoor candles. I am a fan. 

^ This optical illusion-y pattern is one of my favorites. 

 ^ I love geometric prints even more when they are paired with an organic, flowing pattern. Especially botanicals. 

^ These wind chimes are insanely aesthetically simple, clean, and pure. I love them.

^ Another floor mat that would feel happy under my feet. 

^ What a cool, sculptural chair. I would fight to be the first person to sit in it every day. 

My conditioned reflexes quickly ruled out any purchase into three figures; I'm good at pulling back from even moderate extravagance. But the floor mats were $40; adorable wind chimes went for a mere $15. Surely a small item or two to freshen up my patio and celebrate the promise of a new summer would not violate my shopping ban. I ran my shopping rules over and over in my head, looking for a loophole.

All of this happened in less than a minute.

And then my true mind stepped in. You know, that mature mind, the soulful mind, that looks into my life and holds me to my best ideals and my truest self. That mind laughed at my silly attempts to negotiate away my own best interests and sabotage my grand design just two days into a year-long commitment.

I let go of my longings and turned my attention back to my daughter's cart full of birthday gifts.

I bought everything she had picked out, brought it home, and arranged it on the dining room table so the rest of the family could shop from this inventory. On the evening of her birthday, we will bring everything back to her place, wrapped in festive paper. She will open the gifts and we will all decorate her patio together.

And that will be much more fun than buying more things for me, me, me.

I'm glad I passed my first test.

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