Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Blimey! Even my own mother doesn't recognise me

Caricature - with a very good likeness -
drawn by the lovely Steve Hearn at Drawn4U

It occurred to me last night that there is something that I haven't done for months, which is utterly bizarre because it's been an ingrained part of my character since I was old enough to receive pocket money.

Don't worry, I'm not going to come out of the closet with news of secret poker games at the age of 9, or sneaking away from Mr A to pop into the bookies. It's nothing like that.

What I'm talking about is knee-jerk shopping. You know, the urge to rush off and buy stuff just to make you feel better.

I wouldn't go as far as saying I was a total shopaholic, but I have spent the last three decades hitting the shops whenever I've been bored, upset, dissatisfied with life, working too hard or frustrated at not being able to do something. Whenever I felt I deserved a break, I'd go off and buy new treats...and I'm not referring to the odd chocolate bar, I mean much bigger goodies like gadgets, household furnishings and expensive clothes. And many purchasing mistakes were made too, not least the result of a hefty credit-card bill.

Well I don't know what happened, but I've gradually realised I don't react that way anymore.

I hadn't particularly noticed the change until I started thinking about the last couple of months, where there have been a number of very stressful incidents that would have previously led me on a shopping frenzy. Even online shopping from the comfort of my own chair would have given me the same dose of adrenalin as visiting the shopping mall.

I can't confess to being a total non-consumer. The juicer and breadmaker that I bought recently can testify to that, but for once they were actually planned purchases that I made sure I really needed, not impulse buys. And when I set them up, I noticed that I wasn't brimming with the usual contagious buzz of acquiring something new.

Equally when Mr A arrived home before Christmas with a brand-spanking new set of dapper clothes, I didn't feel the urge to rush out to the shops because I was felt hard-done by and that it was my turn - yes that tit-for-tat shopping was once a bad habit of mine.

And then there was the rainy day back in Autumn, when I was tucked up at home and Mr A rang from an electrical store to ask how I felt about bringing home a brand new eco-TV, which we could hang on the wall and free up some extra space and connect up to the Internet. I reckon a year ago, I would have bitten his hand off with excitement at the prospect of some new technology but on that occasion, I stopped him in his tracks and appealed for him to come home empty-handed.

I've never liked our TV but it's only 6 years old and still works, so I found it hard to justify getting rid of it even on something like Freecycle. And tempting as it is to trade it in via one of the in-store "take-back" schemes, the thought of breaking it up for parts when it is in full-working order gives me a shudder.

Blimmin' 'eck! What's happened to me eh?

Is it middle age? Have we had enough years of accumulating stuff that we've got most things we now need?

And does this happen to everyone over 40 or is it that I'm simply more aware of how much energy and waste results from constantly buying new things?

It could be a combination of them all. I'd like to know because I no longer even feel the urge to keep up with the Jones...I lost that some time ago but it's definitely a turnup for the books if ever I've seen one.

So no wonder my mother recently said she no longer recognises me!

And I know what she means, I hardly recognise myself and it feels strange, in a good way of course, but still bizarre all the same.

One thing's for sure, I've saved a fortune on clothes and the other usual suspects and not buying that flashy TV has kept £1000 in our pockets. Of course I'll probably crack one day, but not for a long time yet, well not until digital TV coverage is in the bag and cheaper eco-technology too.

Is this a sign of the times perhaps or is it just little old me? I'd love to know if anyone else has experienced something similar and perhaps I'll no longer feel as strange as I currently do.



Anonymous said...

Yep, it is age. Definitely age. At least in my study (n=2 you and me) those over 40 feel this need to conserve.

sooz said...

but I feel the same and I'm 25!

Danda said...

Age? No I don't think so! Eh eh, I'm over 40 too but I see all people of the same age going up and down shops, desperately searching for cheap things to buy.
Here there's still the crisis but at the same time there are winter sales! It's like driving everybody crazy!
I went shopping too, one evening, but I turned back home upset and stressed without anything... so I decided to buy only the things that I strictly needed. So I went directly to a shop and buy two pair of shoes, paying more attention to their long lasting quality... I didn't buy shoes since two years and sincerely I really needed them! :D

P.s.: A very funny portrait! I immediately recognized you! LOL
And if I haven't already said to you here... have a wonderful New Year without any waste! xxx

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I've begun 2010 by being ruthless in getting rid of unwanted items, having recently "downsized" (our home that is). It's either been given to the charity shops or is to be sold at a car boot later in the year. I am determined not to buy anything new for a few months at least.

We have caricatures drawn at least 15 years ago and we are still recognisable! Love yours!

mrs green said...

I don't think it's an age thing, I think it comes with awareness of the bigger picture and of getting to know yourself. Y

ou say that shopping was an emotional fix. If we feel emotionally satisfied from other things in our lives, we no longer need to shop. Plus now shopping bears heavy on our soul anyway, because of all the potential waste LOL!

I think it's great to recognise these changes in yourself and to celebrate them and you're the one laughing to the bank as well ;)

Steve said...

I am so pleased you like the caricature I did for you and it is really nice to know people recognise you as well! Here's too a BIG waste reduction for us all in 2010..! In case your wondering, if I have any paper left over from my drawing events, I give it to my neighbour who uses it for her 2 year old daughter to draw on! So we recycle the paper as a drawing pad!

Jen said...

I hear you on the tit for tat. I generally do ok not buying too many new clothes, but when my boyfriend comes home with something, it always makes me want to "catch up" and get something new too.


LOL GFG - I think from now, I will be keeping even a closer eye on friends who are heading for the big 40 so I can gather further statistical evidence :-)

Yay Sooz - at least you can bring the average down. Gee I wish I had your sensibilities at the age of 25. I wouldn't be in half the trouble now. But back then I only had a room to call my own...I'd better stop there before I get started with my reminiscing :-)

Hi Danda - I've just had to pick myself up of the floor. You can't be 40! That's impossible. You're most definitely looking well for it. I hope you enjoy your shoes. I know what you mean about making them last. I do that too. :-)

Hi Anne - that's a good resolution not to buy anything new. I tried it for a month back in 2008 and want to resolve to do that again, so maybe I might join you. Caricatures are great aren't they....obviously they're the kind of thing that lasts. :-)

LOL Mrs G, too right, but I'm not quite sure I've found my emotional balance yet. I think I've swapped shopping for staring out the window. At least it's cheaper and saves on the heels :-)

Hi Steve - LOL, great to see you over here. Thanks again for doing the caricature for me. I know I use it on Twitter but I've been looking for a good excuse to use it here. Great news about the reuse of paper too. :-)

Hi Jen - hee hee isn't it funny how that happens. It's almost like a switch gets pressed that launches you into action. I bet men do it too. In fact I've seen Mr A respond that way on a number of turn, your turn etc. Thank goodness I've come to my senses :-)

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