I went to a mall this week. And I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. I went there first thing on a weekend morning. I found parking so easy that I checked it out twice on site. Was that real? I saw the reflection of myself, looking a little lost, in polished shop windows. One business to the next. Flashing sales signs with a 70 percent discount, buy one and get one for free – still nothing. None of the usual thrills and adrenaline rushes, none of the curiosity about what I might find on the discount shelves, I didn’t even have to remember to stay on budget for once.
In the last shop I went to, I even took a basket and loaded it with dresses and tops. I stood in line at the cash register for five minutes, then left the basket and its contents and went straight out. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money on clothes!
“What on earth is wrong with me?” I figured. I’m still a Dubai-ite, am I not? I’ve been shopping every month for almost a decade of my life in this city.
It is what we do. Shopping is our national sport. We shop when we are happy, when we are sad and when we are angry. We buy away our feelings and inadequacies. We shop before events, after public holidays, on long weekends. It’s rooted in us through years of skillful marketing of the Dubai dream – walking out of the mall and grabbing oversized bags full of purchases with your hands! Then why can’t I bring myself to get involved with this idea?
Maybe it’s age, I thought. Or maybe the pandemic. I went home that evening and opened my closet. Stacked to the ceiling and wall to wall – it seemed filled with the most beautiful clothes and shoes I never wear. Six inch heels? Why should I do this to myself? And really – with no exquisite summer vacation spots and no concerts to post selfies from, and no nights of clubbing, parties, and social gatherings – I’m the only person who has to approve of my clothes more.
Before 2020 we were a country of people who liked to buy – buy a lot and buy cheap. The line between “want” and “need” was thin and blurry and appeared and disappeared like the Burj Khalifa on a foggy morning. However, now it seems like the distance between these two words and what they mean is great.
I am consumed with this irrational desire to throw away all the random things that have accumulated in the corners of my house. Because if the last 15 months have taught me something, then I only sit on part of a couch, drink only from my favorite coffee cup, wear and wear my same four sets of pants and T-shirts for as long as I can help and about 5 percent use of what I actually own.
Funny fact. Did you know the average American household has 300,000 things? I can’t imagine we’re too far behind.
Things. I’m pretty tired of this endless race for more things – things we don’t need, things we don’t use, things that don’t mean much when they get home. However, I want to spend more money learning and experiencing. And make more time for myself to do the things I love to do.
I’m sorry to go shopping – but I think I fell in love with you.
I give up.
A self-proclaimed minimalist.