In a scene I suspect many of us have taken part in time and time again, I sat there staring at the computer screen not too long ago, debating whether or not to buy something - a timelessly classic dark yellow and forest green plaid dress with a sweeping circle skirt, to be exact.
Like most, I'm careful with how I spend and what I buy, but no matter how responsible one is with money, that's nothing to prevent them from having a wish list a mile long and constantly running into wonderful items that tempt their hearts and wallets.
As I gazed at the online page before me, a mellow early evening light brewing outside and trickling softly through the blinds, I began to think about some of the other items I wanted, and of ones long past that I missed out on. My mind also focused on those I'd taken the plunge on - or which had been spur of the moment buys. Beyond that, I paused to reflect on what I wanted that could not be bought, those things that only time and circumstance can deliver.
Before I knew it, a good ten minutes had passed, and were it not for the kitty darting about in a beam of that golden sunlight that jolted my focus, I might have continued on, digging deeper and deeper into my psyche and the very human desire to continually want certain things for a good deal longer.
There have been many theories put forth over time regarding why we want (want, in this instance, being used to describe something that we wish to see happen or to obtain, but which, strictly speaking, is not a necessary need or element of basic survival), and it is a point I've pondered on far more days than the one described above.
On the one hand it might make life easier if we wanted for nothing (at least on our bankrolls), but I suspect that it would be a somewhat odd, almost animalistic existence, for there is a certain sense of adventure, beauty, and thrill that lies in wanting something - especially if we desire it deeply.
Few amongst us will ever have the ability to snap up everything we want as the whim for an item or experience arises - even the ultra rich have to limit their spending somewhere if they're to retain their grand fortune for long. Having never been fabulously wealthy myself, I can't say as though this is a problem I've encountered, but should it ever crop up, I'll be sure to report back on what it feels like.
No, like the bulk of us, the material wants in my life have far exceeded the reality of what I bought or were given, and that's completely fine - normal, perhaps one might even go so far as to say "right". I was the polar opposite of a spoiled child and I'm grateful for that. Nothing has ever been handed to me on a silver platter, and, I like to believe, that fact has helped me appreciate the things I have been able to obtain - be they large or small - all the more, quite often because I had to work for days, weeks or even months before they were able to come to fruition.
Though, ultimately I don't consider myself an overly materialistic person (having had to part, for various reasons, with nearly all of my worldly goods on three separate occasions, I'm not one to get madly attached to my belongings, nor to build up too extravagant a collection of them), I have no qualms with readily admitting that I enjoy, budget permitting, shopping and acquiring new items.
I also love the feeling of working and saving for something that isn't within your reach the moment you first come across it. Once, in decades not too long past, many items were purchased on layaway plans (which, by and large, are not overly common any more), but online shopping - and much real world shopping now, too - rarely presents us with that option. Instead we must make choices quickly (especially if dealing with a vintage item that might be very hard, if not impossible, to find an exact duplicate of ever again) and, hopefully, decisively.
By the same token, I like - as most of us do - the feeling of knowing that there's something lovely and wonderful waiting for you on the horizon, be it in terms of when you'll be able to obtain or experience whatever it is you're yearning for, or when it arrives at (potentially) long last. Looking forward to something new and exciting can help make the daily grind considerably more bearable, and - I find at least - that the eagerness that comes with waiting can help keep me in a cheerful mood (as just thinking about said item makes me happy).
Buy, pass, save for (if possible), or add to a wish list, be it real or figurative - perhaps to receive as a gift one day. More often than not though, especially when dealing with sites such as etsy and eBay, it's the first two options that surface. You can favourite a piece or add it to a wish list, but timed auctions wrap up in a matter of days and etsy (and Buy It Now listings on eBay) can be snatched up at absolutely any moment. Knowing this compounds the pressure that one feels to make a timely decision - and the one that we hope will be the right choice.
Not every purchase need bring about such cause for thought and debate, of course, but most of us face this "do I, don't?" predicament on a relatively frequent basis, especially if we truly adore an item, but are watching our spending carefully.
Ultimately only you know if it's wise or not to buy right then and there, and if you'll likely regret it in the long run if you do not (as I'm sure you have as well, there are a few items that "got away" over the years, which I'll always wish I could have snapped up, but there are many too that I was able to buy and which have brought me great joy ever since).
And so we come back to the dress (pictured - in the etsy seller's photo - above) that launched this whole chain of thoughts on the topic of desire and spurred the creation of this post. For surely inquiring minds want to know, did I buy it?
Yes, my dears, I did indeed, as I knew that doing so wouldn't break the bank in that moment and the dress filled a void (I'd been hunting for a yellow vintage frock for months in a shade that would work with my colouring) in my wardrobe, while bringing me a lovely moment of happiness and contentment once I'd made up my mind to go ahead and call it my own.
Now to find a matching dark yellow vintage hat and begin the the whole process anew.