By nature and upbringing I am a thrifty person. My entries on thrift store shopping probably made that obvious. This tendency in me was exacerbated, however, during the course of my marriage because my ex was (is, I suppose) probably the most economically minded person I've ever known. In a certain sense, I learned a good life lesson about saving money during my marriage to him. However, I can see now that the lesson was definitely taken to an extreme.
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Anyway, all of that is just part of the lesson I learned coming out of my relationship, to be filed in the Never Again category! But in the wake of it there is some unlearning, or relearning to be done.
I have definitely spent more money on leisure or entertainment in the nine months of my separation than I did during the entire course of my marriage. I'm not talking about crazy, spendthrift behavior...just going to dinner, going to the movies, buying my iPhone (big one there!), that kind of thing. While it is nice to be free to spend money on enjoyable activities, it's been difficult for me to shake a constant feeling of guilt about it. It's as though I'm still waiting for somebody to check me and to take away my privileges.
My Mom has been instrumental in helping break me of this habit. A few years ago we were out visiting my parents when they still lived in Colorado. I remember going to an after-Christmas sale at Banana Republic with her and trying on only things that were on eXtreme clearance (!). She kept trying to tell me how cute some of the stuff was and that I should buy it for myself, but I felt like I knew better. I ended up choosing a few of the lower ticket items and then deciding to tell my husband that it would be my Christmas present (to me, from him). It couldn't have been more than $120 I spent, but I felt like I was taking a huge risk in doing it.
Since I've been separated, my Mom has tried to encourage me to spend money on myself, to enjoy some of the money I've worked to earn. As my mother, she had a hard time watching while I counted myself unworthy of this kind of treat. I can understand that; I would feel the same way if Monkey ended up behaving in the way I had been, thinking himself somehow undeserving of his own money.
Today I did the unthinkable. I've been thinking a lot lately about shoes. High-heeled shoes, to be exact. I love high heels. I think they are sexy and beautiful, and that a good many outfits look much better if heels are a part of them. I have always been reluctant to wear heels, however, because I'm already 5'10" tall. To wear even a low, 2-inch heel was to be at an Amazonian 6'0," and while I know many women claim they would kill for that kind of height, I propose they would feel different about it if they had the experience of towering over 80% of the men they encountered. Still, I've finally come to terms with my Amazonianness and have decided that life is too short to abstain from high heels, especially since I like them so much.
Sooooo, the unthinkable thing I did was this:
Today's New Activity: Shoe Shopping at Nordstrom (!)
Let me just say one thing by way of disclaimer here. I do not believe that buying expensive things is some kind of birthright. Not in the way that peace-of-mind is, that personal freedom is, that love and friendship are. I believe it is nice to be able to treat oneself, but I don't think anybody *deserves* expensive things...that thought just seems strangely entitled to me, like something that Snooki would believe.
That said, the treating of oneself is nothing to dismiss. I think it is important to take a moment here and there to just let yourself indulge in something you really enjoy. I believe that wholeheartedly now.
So today I walked straight into Nordstrom with the absolute intention of leaving with some cute shoes.
It seems old habits die hard, as I made a b-line for the clearance rack, but it was a big baby step for me to even have stepped foot in that store. And it just so happens that some super cute shoes I would have loved anyway just happened to be 1/2 off. I think there is no crime in retaining some sense of thriftiness, even when treating oneself. The only problem was that I couldn't decide which of two colors to get.
Simple solution. Half off shoes....buy them BOTH. Stop the press!
Now that's a true splurge. Side by side they look like ketchup and mustard.
I love them and they are super comfortable. Summer dresses, bring thine selves ON...I can't wait to accessorize with these and let my inner Amazon out to play :)