With this new behavior of not entering stores, I realized that I use stores to kill time. I do not call this activity shopping persay. This is unplanned time in stores because I am early to get somewhere or I need a mental break on my way to a meeting. More times than not, I do not spend money but there are times I do. And the real issue is that I find things I did not want before I entered the store. So I may go back to get them. Or think I “need” because I saw something new.
The truth is the less time I spend in the stores, the better off I am – financially and mentally. There is nothing rolling around in my mind or making it to my shopping list that I think I just have to get.
There is an additional benefit as well and I discovered last Wednesday. I was downtown Burlington after a meeting and had an hour before a class I was taking that night. A short walk around town without going into a store was lovely, but I was not going to push my luck with the temptation around me. I got in my car and headed up to UVM campus still arriving more than a half hour early. As I headed to our meeting place, I figured I would have some quiet time to read alone.
Instead I was met by another student who was arranging the classroom. As I helped her set-up the chairs, we had a wonderful conversation. When another student joined us, the conversation even got better. When the fourth member of our class came in lamenting her need for a new job and struggle with a cover letter, we all offered to help review it for her. The connection was fun and light and engaging. Best of all the time flew.
What I discovered was that that this time was so, so much better than the quiet time of walking aimlessly through a store. I felt much more recharged and engaged in the world. And I did not have the feeling that I was missing something or in need of something. I had found something. In the time that I had opened up, I had come to realize the personal connection that is very much needed to maintain my balance in the world.
I may just consider arriving early to a few more places in my life.