Tag Archives: Quality

I am not Rich Enough to Buy Cheap Things

15 Oct

As I fill a bag with clothes to give to charity, I realise that I had bought most of these clothes from charity in the first place. Barely a year later, I am giving almost everything back, without having worn most of it. How to explain this phenomenon?

piles of clothes

I love charity shops for their original finds and low prices. In one particular charity shop, almost every item costs only…1€! The clothes are good quality and one can often find brands such as Deisel, Miss Sixty and Max Mara there.

Last year, when my salary did not allow for frequent high-street shopping trips, I would look for bargains in charity shops. Why waste money on the high-street when I can find such great deals in charity shops, right?

Wrong!

Charity shop shopping can often be like sales shopping – the prices are so low that it seems like a crime not to buy.

“I’m not sure whether this dress is my style”, I have said to myself, or “These shoes don’t quite fit right”, or “I can’t tell whether this coat really suits me”. But, in a charity shop, I have always finished these thoughts with “Well, it’s only 5 €, so I can’t miss out on this fabulous bargain!”

And here I am, a year later, with a bag full of clothes that don’t fit, that are not my style and that do not suit me. I had bought them hoping to save money, but it turns out that I actually wasted my money.

Ill fitting badly fitting shoes

On the other hand, I also own things that are worth a week of my salary. In these cases, it takes me at least an hour in one shop to pick out the perfect item; I try it on several times, walk around the shop with it, check it out from all possible angles, create a mental list of all the places I could wear it to and all the other clothes I could wear it with. I only buy it if ticks all of the boxes and if I really love it.

And this always pays off. These carefully chosen items make me feel good and look great, and last longer, too, because I take careful care of them.

I end up saving money, time and space by owning a few expensive items rather than a wardrobe-full of cheap ones.

After filling up my bag to the brim with unworn charity clothes, I finally understand my mum’s favourite shopping-trip phrase: “I am not rich enough to buy cheap things”.

Counting the Blessings, Not the Events in My Life

15 May

I had heard that time flies, but no-one had told me that it soars. The past year has gone by with the blink of an eye. For me, it has had little form and even less structure. What have I done during the past twelve months? What has happened in the last 365 days? Looking back, the past year looks like a stretch of time marked by uncertainty, emptiness and waiting. Things have moved at a slower pace than ever before, and there are few events that have been caught on camera or written into a diary. However, when I think about the past year, I realise for the first time that it is not the quantity of memorable events that matters so much as their quality. This year has brought few notable events, but they have had a crucial role in the direction of my life’s path.

1) I graduated from university.

2) I went on a life-changing trip to India.

3) I completed a novel-writing course, which made me realise that, despite my fears, that I am capable.

4) I was offered my first ‘real’ job in a field that I love.

5) I moved to a different country.

6) I moved in with my boyfriend.

However, when I look back at the past year, these events feature only as a backdrop to that which happened on centre stage. In fact, it is my spiritual experiences and changes that played the main role during this period of time.

1) I got rid of 50% of my material possessions. In my new home, I live only with the things that I use regularly.

2) I deleted my social networking accounts. If they’re my real friends, I should be able to call them to find out about their lives. If I feel uncomfortable about picking up the phone to speak to them, I don’t need to be filling my mind with their lives. Seven months without Facebook, and I feel calmer, more confident and I know who my true friends are.

3) I took a risk. When I started job-hunting last autumn, I knew that I had two choices: I could either persevere and look for jobs in the field that I love –writing – or I could take the easier option of going into a better paid, more stable and more ‘prestigious’ career. Parents considered The City or the EU as a good destination for me, but I knew that if I didn’t take the chance to try my luck in writing, I would never again have the opportunity to do so. Three months later, I was offered a job as an online content editor.

4) I made a dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of working in a cute little bookshop, where I would be able to pass on my love for literature to others. In the autumn, I was hired for a week-end shift at a new independent bookshop in my area. I only worked there for four months, but the experience was unforgettable. I was blessed with kind, knowledgeable and good-humoured colleagues, with friendly clients and with a brilliant stock of books to enjoy.

5) I chose love over fear.  What if I don’t like it? What if it doesn’t work out? What if he changes his mind? What if we get bored? A million doubts filling my mind before moving to a new country and moving in with my boyfriend. Four months after my move, this new life feels like second nature.

6) I was honest with myself. Young women my age are going to parties, filling their days with countless activities, following fashion, spending, seducing, networking…I tried, but never found fulfilment in any of these activities. I finally admitted to myself that I would prefer to spend Friday night watching the sunset from a hill, spend the afternoon riding a bike, spend evenings doing yoga, spend the week-ends doing photography, and spend my money on dance class, art exhibitions or fresh local food from the market. By being honest with myself, I have found a more natural way of life.

This year, I may not have had many events to talk about, but I have had many ideas and feelings to share. I think I am finally starting to learn how to count the blessings, and not the events in my life…