Times like this I want to shop. I want to jump in the car, drive to one of Chicago’s great malls, and shop like there’s no tomorrow. I think it will make me feel better.
Oh yeah. I’m depressed. Really down in the dumps. The job that I interviewed for this past weekend turned me down. I think it will make me feel so much better to have a new perfume, or some outrageous new shoes. Or some sparkly new jewelry.
And it will. Shopping always lifts my mood. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. And there are all the new purchases that make me feel so good.
As much fun as it is, shopping is only a temporary fix. After the initial high, then reality sets in once more. The depression smothers.
Thus far on my minimalist journey, I have no good substitute for a good shopping outing. Thoughts about how much money and time I am saving aren’t helping my mood. Knowing that I don’t have any new purchases to store and maintain isn’t putting a smile on my face. Minimalism isn’t delivering the kind of instant gratification that shopping does.
Minimalism delivers something totally different. Minimalism delivers a chance to break the cycle. Minimalism offers solutions to long-term problems of excess: too much debt, too much stuff, too much chaos. Instead of the short-lived shopping endorphins, minimalism is a step toward a sustainable future for myself.
A new pair of shoes still sounds good. But being an aspiring minimalist has at least enabled me to see my shopping habit for what it is: an attempt to use things to change my emotions. And it works for some length of time. But the negative feelings always return. Minimalism has helped me to step back from the cash register long enough to think about what is happening. I guess minimalism does deliver some instant gratification, after all.