Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Strip Mall, Lifestyle Center Community

I was out and about yesterday running some errands and made a trip to Ulta in south Fort Collins. I needed some makeup and Ulta is the only place in town I know that carries what I was needing. Side story - Ulta has a one of those frequent shopper cards like King Soopers or PetSmart except you never get anything with it. The only time I ever got a discount was the last time I was there when after my purchase they told me I had a $4 coupon that I needed to use right then. What a scam. Maybe not a scam but you know you can't buy much in a cosmetic store for $4 so of course, they're counting on you spending more than $4. Stuff like this pisses me off. I always feel like I'm being taken for a ride. While I was able to buy some nail polish for under $4, it still annoyed me.

Back to my original story - On my trip to south Fort Collins, to Ulta, which is located in a Lifestyle Center, I saw tons of people walking around, doing stuff. It was 1pm on a Friday afternoon. Do these people have jobs? Did they cut out early because it was Friday like I did? WTF? What were all of these people doing milling about? Could they all be there to buy something?

It got me thinking - these Lifestyle Centers, which are the new strip mall of the day, is where people hang out! I go to these Lifestyle Centers when I need something, like my makeup. I don't go there to have lunch, walk around and check out the cookie cutter artwork and potted plants. It occurred to me that these Lifestyle Centers are the hub of the communities we live in. Was the mall the hub of the community I grew up in? Maybe. I know I certainly spent too much time at the mall in my teen years checking out the guys and buying earrings and clothes.

Thank God Fort Collins has a thriving downtown where, while there are many stores, there are places to hang out that don't have a lot to do with commerce in its truest form. Or am I just kidding myself? Is everything designed so that we spend money?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Well, hello there. I've been thinking about writing again for quite some time. Over the weekend, at my 25th high school reunion - the 40's are the new 30's ya know - I heard from a few old friends that they actually read this little blog. Plus, I've been feeling the pull of not buying anything new nipping (chomping and drawing blood is more like it) at my heels and wallet.

An update - since I last wrote, I have added quite a bit to the old Macy's credit card. I didn't walk into the place for an entire year and then the beginning of March hit and I went a little nutty, really. What did I buy, you ask? Well, I did buy a vacuum cleaner which is allowed on the purchasing diet, but I mostly bought CRAP! Clothes and more clothes! Just how many pairs of black pants does one gal need? And then one needs new tops to go with the silly pants. It's such a mind fuck. I somehow felt justified buying things I didn't need because I had gone one whole year without doing so. What's that all about?

I liken it to falling off the wagon. While I'm not an alcoholic, I have had my brush with problem drinking. While I don't smoke anymore, it took me years, literally years, to quit. I've never really had a problem with food but I certainly can justify a large biscuits and gravy breakfast if I've run a 5K earlier in the day. And anyone that knows me well knows that I struggle with an addiction to aspirin - silly but true.

I realize now that I have to treat buying things in the same way. Truth be told, I don't have the money to spend willy nilly on stupid shit I don't need, like one more pair of black pants. I need to remember and realize that it's not only not good for my bottom line, it's not good for my mental well-being. I felt pretty great last year, not buying anything new. It really made decision-making easier and freed up money for actual life experiences instead of more things.

Well, friends, I'm starting again. I'm making a commitment today to stop my madness. Making a commitment to not buying anything new makes me feel more mindful and aware about everything, not just purchases, which in turn makes me feel more alive. Over the top? Maybe, but sometimes going a little extreme can bring you back to center.