[Sober Living] Breaking Retail Addiction

“I don’t pay sales tax on things I… don’t buy![1]” It was about ten minutes until the store I wanted to go to was scheduled to open. I’d also been awake for over sixteen hours, needed to get home to write, and go to bed at a decent hour for work. Without even a moment of hesitation, I left, and next thought about the store about fifteen minutes later, without the slightest bit of regret.

I’ll still go to stores and I’ll still buy things.

It’s just now I have no interest in purposeless exploration of stores. Why would I go to a bookstore to browse cheap books to buy when I won’t have the time to read any of them for at least a month, since I’ll be spending almost all of November 2019 writing a thirty-day period in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story” – see my 2019 Novel. The only purpose, then, would be just to have a nice relaxing opportunity to explore some new ideas.

Why not do that at home with some videos?

Why not do that while writing? I don’t need to spend money to have fun, nor does the act of ownership mean I have a more fulfilled life. As fun as it is to think about how many bargains I got on things over the years, I have to wonder as I look around the hundreds of things around my apartment-mansion that are collecting dust whether all those hours driving around or going to thrift stores was worth the time? Not in the slightest. Even if I learned some skills through the act of hunting for new things, talking to people, or just getting out, those don’t mean as much as the act of producing written content.

I only don’t like writing when I’m too tired to concentrate.

Whereas I’ve grown interested in a great many things that I bought. I don’t regret having enjoyed the objects enough to purchase them; I just regret that I couldn’t keep enjoying them. It would have been better if I hadn’t gone to all those thrift stores, music stores, bookstores, and such to buy as much as I had, but we don’t know until we’ve passed the precipice of addiction to see how much of a problem it’s made for us. I am stuck in an expensive apartment-mansion because of many of these unappreciated artifacts of my addiction to the retail experience.

My most effective antidote against retail addiction is conceiving freedom.

I am in good shape financially, but if I keep working at this pace and pay scale, I’ll never get anywhere in terms of investments. I am one major health issue, one car accident, or one fire away from poor financial shape. I must break free from that vicious cycle. I’ve been preparing as much as I can mentally and economically for this month of writing. If I succeed, I will have a product that I can sell for some amount of value. If I get any money from it, I will use that money to invest in things that will help me develop more financial freedom.

Starting in December, I’ll be more strict about what I keep.

I have boxes and boxes of things I’ve kept around for various inconsequential reasons, mostly wanting to see if I can get some money from them. Let’s say this 2019 Novel sells. Why would I be concerned over whether I make a small amount of money at selling things? This is where retail addiction comes in. If we buy things because we think these objects have value rather than use, then we’re thinking in terms of how we might be able to sell these items when we’re down on our luck.

I’d rather work harder to get a better paycheck.

Even better, I’d like to figure out a way to do my own independent work without having to ask for permission to use the restroom if it’s outside my normal break time or have to stay late because of poor scheduling. When I write, I work hard. I’ve been writing for twenty minutes without rest at this point and can write for hours with minimal disruption. I don’t get that level of entertainment or enjoyment going thrifting, or whatever. Why would I spend thirty minutes doing something I don’t enjoy as much as something I do enjoy, unless it’s a convenient use of that time, and there’s some sort of novelty to it?

I didn’t go to this garage sale I photographed above.

It would have been out of my way. I only drove past one garage sale this summer and I was more interested in getting home to relax than I was in leisurely strolling through someone else’s junk. What sort of things could I buy from someone that I can’t borrow from the library, buy online, or not buy at all? I’ve either bought everything I’ve ever been interested, of all the books, movies, or videogames I’ve ever heard, or they’re things I’m not interested enough to learn about to decide if I want to randomly buy.

I’m disinterested in that sort of extensive cataloging.

I’ll still track when I listen to albums if it’s easy enough, I’ll still seek out more books to read, and there are still fun things to see at thrift stores. I’d just rather prioritize my life around the things I love doing – writing, reading, and exploring the world – rather than buying things that won’t help me do any of the three. Even then, too, I have enough books on writing already to read. I don’t need to buy more. Even if I need to buy more with more passion than I have for breathing, sometimes. When I let that thought pass, deciding I’d rather go home, write, and sleep, than browse the shelves, I realized that I can learn to prioritize more positive, rewarding, and fulfilling elements of reality.

Stop praying to the Church of Black Friday deals and embrace aretailism.

Quotes: [1] My joke to a coworker when we talked about tax prices.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Besides waiting for a store to open? General dissatisfaction with life and how expensive it is to live where I live. I blame part of those expenses on my retail addiction. Writing this was a way for me to say that, hey, I could probably get over this. But I did buy a cheap bundle of Steam games during this process, so I’m a hypocrite, but less than I would if I still constantly went to thrift stores, I suppose, as someone looking to live more within a comfortable means where I could write for a month without needing a 40-hour a week job to sustain a decent lifestyle, I guess. But maybe that purchase lends to this overall thought process because it was with intention. I wanted one of the four games, I’d heard of another, and the last two in that bundle were along for the ride, so whatever. I didn’t buy it just because it was there. I bought it because there was a game I wanted. Just like how when I buy things now, it’s because I want the item, so I’m willing to pay more for them, than if I just stumbled across them. So to be a proper aretailist, you have to buy intentionally, I guess.
Related: Other Sober Living and Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: I’d been thinking of taking a photo to write about garage-saling, did, but never did anything with it.
Written On: October 29th, 2019 [45 minutes, from 10:21am to 10:56am, WordPress]
Last Edited: October 29th, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.