I’ve always loved shopping. I was the little girl with a pretend gift shop in her bedroom and a novelty rubber from every corner of the British Isles. I’ve always believed that buying stuff has the magical ability to make me happy.
In my teens and twenties, it became all about the clothes. I didn’t have much money, so happiness was the thrill of finding bargains in charity shops and on eBay. When those first pay packets started rolling in, the goal became earning that all important end-of-the-month treat. Happiness was saving up for the perfect pair of boots or a new winter coat.
Lately I’ve realised that I now rush to buy clothes for all the wrong reasons: greed, sadness and dissatisfaction. I’ve got more disposable income than I did a decade ago and shopping is easier than ever before. Temptation is everywhere and social media has made my shopping more compulsive.
Like an annoying song, a certain trend gets stuck in my head until I banish it by clicking the buy button. The narrative of this catchy songs goes: buy me and you’ll feel happier; buy me and you’ll be more like her; buy me because you’ve had a bad day and you need a treat…
But here’s the thing: shopping almost certainly doesn’t buy lasting happiness. Any fleeting pleasure tends to be laced with guilt – rather like the sickly-sweet cake you thought you wanted but instantly regret.
The key is finding a healthy balance and being the one in control. This means a bit less impulse buying from now on, and a little more consideration. At its best, shopping for great clothes should make me feel like I’m winning at life, not losing. This will only happen when I learn a bit of moderation.
Now I’m in my mid 30s, I’ve realised that it’s the little moments in life that make me truly happy. Some days that’s eating pancakes made by children or reading a really great book, and on others it’s still the simple joy of a great new sweater or finding the perfect pair of jeans.
I just need to remember I only really need one or two pairs of jeans, not thirty.