Tuesday, May 8, 2018

[Daily] Tuesday 2018.05.08 - A new blanket, and resisting purchases

I am inordinately happy with this blanket I got this weekend from Maker's Market @ Mill Valley Lumberyard. Here it is freshly laundered, in active use:

I'm not a huge shopper, but every so often I see something that in the moment I take a big liking to. On this day, in particular, I weighed three other items: a print of a minimalist map of the Outer Sunset, at Avenues SF (not Avenues Dry Goods or Other Avenues or even The Avenues generically—lots of Avenues out there); a small crossbody canvas bag at Guideboat; and even a pair of pennyloafers at Guideboat. Anyone who has seen me would probably find the last two items out of character, and I agree. I wear a faded green-now-tan backpack like a permanent turtle shell (it fits a laptop, notebooks, a few books), and comfy black Nike sneakers 95% of the time. Every time I go out with other footwear, I notice I can't walk as fast. So as to why I took a liking to these things—it's got to be ads. 

I've bought numerous things before that are more aspirational than practical (clothing, advanced cookbooks, even wood floor polish), and then I realize they don't fit in my life. The reality of my day-to-day life and bias toward practicality win out. 

So I ask myself these questions now: Will I enjoy this thing in two months? (This is especially relevant for seasonally-useful items.) When do I see myself using this? I try to picture a specific event or situation when I'd use it. 

It would be a lie to stop here, though, and pat myself on the back for my mental fortitude. I think a big part of resisting purchases has been the fact that I've packed up so often in the past 8-9 years. That includes clearing out my dorm room at the end of each college year, moving into a temporary apartment while TAing one semester, moving across the country, then moving five times in the last five years in the Bay Area. Packing is a pain and actually highly thought-intensive (you are solving minimal packing problems constantly), and each time, I've gotten a good look at all my belongings and know what things I don't use and are dead weight. So really, the immediate second thought when I see something I want to buy is, "Will this make moving more annoying?" That thought brings about recent memories of packing and probably triggers my brain to emulate physical pain, and slaps away most of my urges. 

Now you understand what barriers this bulky-ish, big blanket had to overcome to arrive on my bed.

Part of this "imagine moving" technique relies on my believing I will move in the future, and the near future. I've thought about how my mindset will shift once I buy a house—which I have no plans of doing, but believe won't be in the Bay Area (I want a yard enough to plant a garden... with money left over to do other things). 

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