Unexpected Benefits

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.