I Didn’t Know How Much I Didn’t Have

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We went to the mall over the weekend.


I hated it.  Really.  I hated it.


I can remember really enjoying going to the mall as a teenager with my best friend.  I can also remember spending hours bombing around there with some college buddies.  And, as a young woman just entering the work force, I would often spend a couple hours of my “day off” choosing cute new blouses and skirt suits that were perfect for my banking career.  The mall and I had a happy little relationship.


I don’t even know when it changed.  I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to stop going to the mall.  I never had to “cut myself off” or any such thing.  Maybe I just got busy having and raising babies?  I really don’t know.


But we went on Sunday and I walked around feeling horrible.


I walked past jewelry cases and the emeralds sparkled at me.  I fingered a pretty teal top as I crossed through the store.  I faced a travel mug covered with a French floral pattern that was lovely.


(And a part of me wanted it all.)


I felt assaulted by beautiful, tempting things that I didn’t need.  But it wasn’t even the fact that I didn’t need them that bothered me.  There is nothing in the world wrong with sometimes just wanting something.  But I hadn’t even “wanted” any of this stuff!  I had waltzed into the mall perfectly content with everything I had until I saw everything I didn’t have.


I’d been away from the whole “mall experience” for so long that it was, quite frankly, sensory overload for me.  So much color.  So much texture.  So much sparkle.


And, so, while it’s not the “mall’s fault” and I absolutely don’t think there’s anything evil about wanting something new or nice or even unnecessary, I’ll be happy to not go back there anytime soon.  Because I really just want to shop purposefully and carefully… and to return to the place where I didn’t know how much I didn’t have.


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10 comments to I Didn’t Know How Much I Didn’t Have

  • I had the same experience not too long ago. I seen all these home decor items I loved {and *needed* right then!}, kitchen gadegets, and beautiful wardrobe pieces and accessories…except, like you, I never knew anything about them prior to being there. And my life would be just as fulfilled and complete without them. And truly–I’m probably much happier without those things!

    • Katie

      I know EXACTLY what you girls mean! I feel the same way when I go shopping; I am totally content with what I have until I go to the store, then I want everything! I tend not to shop very much, keeps me happier and saves me money.

      • I hear you, Katie! I tend to not shop very much either. And I find, over the years, that online shopping really works for me in a lot of situations. I can just search for what I need and bypass the rest. :)

    • Me too, Phoebe, me too. That happens to me a LOT when I see beautiful home decor– seasonal items and knick knacks. I’ll see what someone has put together and think it’s beautiful but, in reality, I don’t want to fuss with it. I don’t want to dust it all or have to pack it up and change it every season. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not ME. I’m much happier with pared-down decor. :)

  • My husband and I get what we call “mall head” when we go to the mall. It’s that dizzy overwhelmed feeling we get when there is just too much to look at and distract us. We go to the mall maybe once a year for a specific purpose. Like you, I used to enjoy malls. Maybe I’m just out of practice. I do find that the less I go to malls and other shopping areas, the better off we are financially.

    • Oh, I know just what you mean by “mall head”, Mandy! I could actually feel my heart race a little when we were in there, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth. I whispered to my husband, “I think it’s just sensory overload for me. I just can’t even process it all, anymore!” And it IS odd, because I was never a bit bothered by malls in the past. Interesting how we change over the years! :)

  • Kelley

    I did the EXACT same thing..just today!! So funny how timely this is. I love Target but never go on any consistent basis. Today I ended up there because we needed some baby supplies. I wondered around with my two children and we had fun. But as I walked and took in the merchandise I found myself getting worked up. I was getting anxious because I wasn’t sure if the children’s winter things from last year still fit them or if we had enough Halloween decorations for our house.

    I walked in feeling great and had a plan for the day..I left feeling like I am disorganized and that the things we do have are not “enough”. What for?? It honestly took me 30 minutes to calm down and get a grip. Oh the joys of retail Huh?? Love this post..probably because it makes me feel like I am not alone in this!!

    • Oh, you are definitely not alone, Kelley. I think it’s clever marketing strategies that make us end up feeling inadequate in these situations. And that’s so sad! I don’t fault the stores, of course, because I know it’s their job. But it’s definitely more incentive for me to spend more time at home… or in grocery stores, where the temptations aren’t so great for me. ;)

  • Thank you for this post. It is so true! Staying out of stores not only saves money, but keeps me content with what I have.

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