Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Step in the Best Direction

Do you know what happens when you buy shoes right after having your eyes dilated? You spend $100 without barely blinking - literally.

Now for some people in the world, this is a paultry sum anyway. "$100? That's my lunch money!"

For others, this is an unthinaklable amount. $100?! That's groceries for a month! "Ha! I wish it really were all I spent on groceries in a month.

Then there are the people with dependents and mortgages and bills and etcetera. $100 on shoes in that case may give you pause. Understandable.

So how did I get here? I went to the eye doctor this morning for my regular checkup. I didn't realize that I would get dilated because even thought I go as I should, I only needed to go every 2 years at the time. Now it's yearly since I am getting older. I also didn't know that I would pretty much be unable to see for about 4 hours afterward - well enough to drive but not enough to read normal print close up. Since reading is 100% of what I do on my job, I decided not to rush back there. The mall was only 2 blocks from my doc's office so I figured I'd check out some shoes while the lots were relatively empty and give my eyes a chance to regain some normalcy.

Now, one thing I have always wanted to do but have yet to do fully was only buy what I love and not just buy the things that don't make me feel financially guilty. I know that quality is better than quantity most times. I know that when it comes to clothing, fit SHOULD trump price. I watch What Not to Wear on TLC because it's fun to see the metamorphasis as men and women find out how much better they feel and look when they wear the proper size and fit of clothing. I believe in that myself. But that doesn't make it easy to spend the money sometimes.

I don't just have 2 dependents and now a mortgage, etc. I actually have a 3rd dependent - my business, at least until it gets profitable. Even when I start out wanting to save some money to spend on my own desires, something just about always comes up and I'm glad I have the money to take care of it but I'm a mom. My needs and wants often get pushed to the bottom even when I'm not trying to let it happen. I don't resent it. I just keep on trying. Last year I finally added myself as a line item in my personal budget. I paid myself not quite 10% as I should, but after my tithes I took out money for me and THEN I did what I had to do. That lasted for about 6 months because the house became a priority. But I did it nonetheless and I'm doing it again this year for sure. It's progress. I'll take it.

I've already reached the place where I only do what feels right for me and doesn't take me to emotional places I do not HAVE to be. I already care so little about what others think about me that I may come off uncaring of their feelings in return. And while I do apologize if some feels hurt, no, I don't apologize for being me.

This year I'm working on the quality part of life. I may not be able to buy a lot at one time but I'm choosing to buy the more expensive thing IF I love it, IF it looks good on me, IF it fits well because I want it to last and I want to be happy I have it. Subconsciously I do treat the more expensive thing better so that may be why these items last longer, in addition to the alleged craftsmanship that go into them. (I'll just have to take their word for that one.)

Last year I went to a business conference and one of the gifts we got was a free pair of Naturalizer shoes. There was a fashion show at the conference and I watched as these women strutted on the stage in their Naturalizer shoes and I thought, "Wow! Some of those are really cute!" I had been in a Naturalizer shoe store when I was a child and went with my great aunt each summer as she bought me new clothes and shoes for school. She might stop in that store to look or pay a bill and the shoes I saw there for women were not appealing. I grew up with that thought in my head and never stepped foot in the store as an adult. Then I saw those shoes on the runway and got the chance to get a free pair. They were over $70 dollars, a lot to me normally, and I was even more impressed that they gave hundreds of women these totally free shoes. I mean I didn't even pay shipping! I got them and they killed my feet the first time I wore them. After that they were golden. Perfect. I swear I didn't even notice them. They are heels too and I NEVER liked heels. These I can run in - honest! There went my ill thoughts of Naturalizer and new appreciation for pricey shoes took root.

When I went to the store this morning I couldn't see price. I could see the shoes just fine. But those prices, unless they were on bug SALE sigs, were not coming in at all. So I went for love and fit instead, hoping for a great sale but not wanting to be stopped for lack of it. The sales clerk rang them up and I admit I was a bit surprised they were indeed the $95 price tage I thought I was seeing on the shoe that sat next to the pair I wanted. But thankfully I've got a bonus coming and room on my credit card so I said, "OK."

I really hate feeling like I shouldn't get the quality thing. All my life the things I liked were usually the most expensive things so why should I be surprised by the price now? And now I am actually getting paid like an adult and not like an entry-level worker. My husband has a good job and my children are considered a higher debt for me than my actual debts are. Now's the time, if ever there was one, to shop the way I want to, even if it takes a little longer and I get a little less overall. I see it as an investment in me and gratification earned after so many years of gratification delayed as I worked on getting my finances where they should be.
As I write this now, I can honestly say I didn't even think of what else I could have done with the money. Before I could, I reminded myself that I bought the shoes because I loved them. "Good enough. Stop questioning yourself." And I did.

I've got a long way to go to fully be the person on the outside that I am on the inside. I should call all of my out-of-state friends at least every 2 months and not yearly as it feels it is now. I still have to work on always going to church on the Sundays I feel too lazy to dress three people instead on just me. I'm sure my husband would love it if I went back to the love notes I used to write him weekly, even if I only did it monthly. But I think I'm still making steps in the right direction. I'm being true to me. I can't ask any more of myself.


theresa said...

Wonderful! I love good quality stuff and the stuff always lasts much longer than the cheaper stuff. I've got boots that I wear all the time from 5 years ago.

Guilt? What's that? (this said from a Jewish mother)

Colleen said...

It's good for you to treat yourself and take care of yourself. It sets a good example for your children!

I know when I was a little girl - I always WANTED my mom to buy herself pretty clothes or treat herself to something good --- but sadly, she never did.

She was always too busy taking care of me and my 3 brothers and my dad. To her - at that time - treating herself to something special meant selfishness.

To me - as her daughter, treating herself to something special would mean that she had good self esteem and I should follow her lead!

If I could go back in time and change anything about my mom, it would be this!

I'd want her to know that SHE was worth something... that she COULD and SHOULD HAVE kept some special time just spent on HER and no one else!!! :)

Your kids are lucky to have a mom like you.

Monica said...

Oh my! I can't tell you how much I appreciate that thought, Colleen! It's so great because I've had this discussion with people about that balance - taking care of you adn taking care of your kids; not putting yourself last until they grow up becasue by then you're older and possibly too tired to do what you wanted to do in the first place. My own mother probably wouldn't agree with me but I thought she sacrificed herself for us too much, as you were saying. I'm sure I don't know all the details but I just never thought she looked happy - until she retired. My brother and I swear she's someone else. That shouldn't have had to wait until she was job free. I don't want to wait until I am job free. And your comment is precisely why I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.