Everything We Need

Buyer’s remorse- a complex emotion beginning with a want, followed by a brief justification, rush of adrenaline and ultimately an overwhelming feeling of guilt.  So why do we continue to buy?  What void are we trying to fill?

It’s been six months since I quit my part-time job.  As overwhelming as the prospect of losing my income was, I felt like I was drowning as a full-time mom while running my direct sales business part-time.  Something had to give and my sanity was already gone, so that left either a child or the job.

I’m fortunate enough to have my basic needs met- a reliable car, a roof over my head, food on my table and clothes and shoes to keep me warm.  Not everyone has great health-insurance like me or a supportive family that lives close by.  I’m one of the lucky ones, so why isn’t that enough?

My husband had been encouraging me to quit my job for months.  He saw me struggling and felt the effects as I was short-fused almost all of the time.  But I was hesitant to give up the extra cash and the one thing outside of motherhood that I considered “mine”.  I was running my own business and I was very successful!  My customers thought I was funny and I felt purposeful in my message.  I argued that having my side-business provided a sense of identity outside of motherhood.  The longer I fought, however, the more stressed I became and ultimately, I realized I would either have to hire child-care or quit.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased something on Amazon lately, only to cancel the order hours or a day later.  It’s something I used to be a able to afford- a new book, an additional diffuser, an early birthday present for a friend.  But the fact of the matter is, we cannot afford it anymore.  I go through the emotions- the desire, justification, adrenaline and remorse.

As nice as that book would be, it’s still a want and not a need.  So I cancel the order- feeling defeated quickly followed by a sense of relief.  Wait, relief?  Why’s that?

“Everything we need is right here.” My husband says, holding his arms out to encompass our daughters.  “We already have everything we need.”  And he’s right.  If, God forbid, a fire burned down our house tomorrow, the only thing I would want would be my family.  The rest is replaceable.

I feel relief when I cancel that order.  It’s one less thing to worry about paying for.  It’s one less thing to find space for.  It’s just stuff.  And the less material goods I bring into my life, the more room I have for what’s really important- my time with my family.

I missed out on that new book, but I found an acceptable substitute at the library.  I feel lighter already and look around to see what else I can unload.  Less stuff, less stress.  Less stuff, more space for all that really matters.

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