December 07, 2011

Non-Shop Stopping – Ramona Heikel

It is not natural for me to focus. I tend to have a divergent personality, which can be both a positive and a negative trait. However, something has been frustrating me for years.

One cause of my divergent tendencies is boredom: boredom with seeing the same old four walls, with eating the same old foods, with routines and ruts. This boredom leads me to go “out” more, and by that I don’t mean out to the theatre, out to dinner or out for a weekend in Banff, because those all have significant costs. My practice of going-out-more consists of browsing around book stores, thrift stores, grocery stores and health food stores, in which I find many new, colorful, interesting (and often inexpensive) items that I want.

This kind of shopping shouldn’t be a problem, should it? The products are usually necessities, or the prices are too low to show up on my guilt-radar. It’s not as if I’m impulsively buying five more pairs of shoes, expensive jewelry or a whole new set of living room furniture.

However, it is a problem. First, I really don’t need most of what I see, yet many items jump into my cart anyway. Worse than that, though, it uses up valuable time, which I never seem to have enough of.

At the end of a shopping day, I am usually frustrated that I haven’t read more of the books on my shelves or the ones from the library (ah, the library—another bad “browsing” habit). By then, it’s too late to connect with my loved ones in a phone call, email, snail mail, or Facebook. Pray? Sometimes I only have time for a short, rushed prayer before I sleep.

Throughout this year, I have been trying to simplify my life and my focus. I believe that this is something that God has not only been urging me to do, but also something in which he is training me, step by step. In fact, I think the frustration with myself is the first part of the training. Now I am finding that when I can direct my attention, a sense of peace fills my day.

I am trying to resist the number of trips I make browsing aimlessly at the library and the stores, and remind myself of other enjoyments I have at home. I have a park to walk in, an elliptical machine set up to watch videos while exercising (which was supposed to be enticing), books galore, word puzzles, and my cat who is always happy to see me. And for the first time in ages, I’m making some Christmas gifts.

To paraphrase the saying about contemplating in our last days how we’ve spent our lives, I don’t think I’ve ever looked back and wished I’d spent more time in the store.

Posted by Ramona


  1. Enjoyed reading your posting. You're not alone in wandering in the libraries and shopping at thrift shops. I've a stock of books purchased a our library sale I haven't opened yet to read. Yet, I love to browse,purchase at discount and stock them for future read(if and when it happens)

  2. So ture! If we looked at our lives this way I am sure we would all do less of some things and more of others. (Like connecting with people)

  3. Spelled true wrong ... :) my fingers are faster than my brain


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