Restraint must enter
“An element of abstention, of restraint, must enter into all finer joys.”
— Vida D. Scudder
I think one of the nicest things we can do for ourselves is learning to enjoy things without wanting to own them. This is trickier with some things than with others, of course, and what appeals to the eyes may vary from person to person. But I find that “shopping” for things I like but don’t need, and have absolutely no room for, is excellent training in appreciating what belongs to others. When I know there is no way I will be buying something, that eliminates the decision making and frees me up to really see what I’m looking at, unencumbered by price or other practical considerations.
Museums can serve this purpose, but for sheer variety of colors, styles and bling, you can’t beat a good shop. And many specialty shops are excellent places to develop the skill of just saying no to ownership. Jewelry stores, furniture stores and very pricey clothing stores often fall into this category, giving us ideas and inspiration without costing a cent.
For me, looking at china is great practice in restrained shopping. There are so many fabulous patterns, with new ones coming out all the time, and the entire spectrum of colors is represented. Since I don’t have room for more china than I already have, there is no question of buying any of it, so it’s a perfect purchase-free joy to look at dishes to my heart’s content.
(It’s ironic that, as I write this, I am awaiting delivery of service for ten from the west coast, but that’s a topic for another post…)
What do you love to look at while shopping, with no intention of buying? Start with something delightful that you find it easy to say “no” to, and then move into more difficult exercises in impulse denial. It’s fun – and good for the soul AND the wallet!
One year ago today