I love buying presents. I love the buzz of seeing something and just knowing it would make someone you love smile. And, at this time of year I have quite a few good excuses.
But maybe that buzz is just the excuse for some guilt free shopping!
Once upon a time I used to spend half my life traipsing round shops. It didn’t matter where I was, I could find something to buy. Lengths of Oxford Street or the local newsagent when popping out to pick up a paper, it didn’t matter to me. I could never tire of, in the words of a friend who doesn’t quite share the same passion, ‘looking at objects’.
But, as a mum, the experience is now a little different. It was almost no trouble when she was a baby (although I didn’t realise it at the time!). Strap her in the pushchair and off I would go. In minutes she would be asleep and I would be free to roam anywhere with aisles wide enough to accommodate us.
But taking a toddler is simply more trouble than it is worth. For one, she simply doesn’t have the pace or stamina. And anyone who has wrestled with an eighteen month old on the floor of Topshop whilst carrying an armful of neon crop tops and being judged simultaneously by a group of school girls for a) being a horrid mother and b) having no sense of style (I’m not sure which feels worse!), will understand why this is an experience you are unlikely to want to repeat.
So, that leaves online shopping. Hardly a new discovery but something I was very dubious of at first. When would I feel the buzz? But now I am fully converted. My mobile phone has become a one-stop solution to all my purchase needs. And wants…
Because that is what online shopping has become for me; escapism. Online, money is no object and I need no excuse. But that has now become the problem. I’ve no sense of focus. I begin with a simple search on Amazon and soon I am lost. Too many options. Too much choice. I begin to doubt myself and that feeling of certainly I once had when I saw the thing, the item, the object that was just right.
And that’s escapism for you. A sense of losing yourself that feels great as you wander off down a different road. But, once you are lost, you are lost.
And finding your way back can be a very difficult journey indeed.