Everyday Uncommon

Lessons of the Day

I was feeling slightly off from this afternoon. Two things bugged me. One, I don’t like talking about money, particularly the lack of it—especially when I’m the one with the holey pockets. And two, I don’t like feeling like the poor hanger-on.

The first incident occurred when I was discussing an event, nothing big, just something we wanted to put together for somebody. I refused the first suggestion, explaining that I was not comfortable with the how much it would cost. My refusal stood but I had to repeat myself three times. I wish I didn’t have to say over and over again that I didn’t want to go with the first suggestion because it was too expensive for me. I was not humiliated by it, not really, but I really wished explaining once was enough.

Then on to the second stop, I was accompanying the same person to a fancy boutique. In truth, I was doing her a favor. I wasn’t supposed to go. I didn’t want to go. Once there, I looked around, found some nice things, and did not buy anything. I really liked some of the stuff but: one, holey pockets, and two, impractical. I’m glad I couldn’t afford anything at that store, they weren’t anything I’d use a lot, they were just really very pretty.

While there, I admired the stuff and my companion went on to buy some things. I joked that I’ll steal one of her purchases from her, and she countered that she’ll just give it to me, next year. We were joking around. I know it was said without malice. But in that moment, I felt like the poor relation, waiting around for hand-me-downs. Plus, it stung that other people heard it. I did admire the things she purchased, I repeated my admiration too, in hopes that it will help alleviate buyer’s remorse. Then, I get another statement that instead of making me feel good, made me feel even poorer: that I can just have last item I just praised. That should have been sweet. I know it was meant to be nice. It felt crappy.

I don’t mind spending money on things (even expensive stuff) but they need to be practical and in keeping with a more minimalist lifestyle that I’m aiming for. This afternoon’s experience was difficult. When I got home, I had to think about it. What did I need to learn?

I felt poor. Well, in the sense that I couldn’t afford those things this afternoon, I suppose am poor. It’s okay. It’s not a big deal. I have so much more than I need.

Also, I needed to reinforce and practice what I thought I already did, not care about looking “bad” in front of people who do not matter to me (to be fair, I don’t matter to them either, don’t know me even). So, maybe I looked like I didn’t “belong” and it was obvious that I didn’t have other people’s spending power, it’s okay. I need to get past that. My dignity is not dependent on the contents of my bank account and what strangers think.

And while I did learn these lessons, I am by no means done. I’m a work in progress. I’m sure many more experiences similar to today’s are in the offing. I just need to find the good, find the takeaways.

 

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