Throwing Money at the Void

I have been gripped with an insatiable (and unexpected) shopping habit these last few weeks.

At first, it was driven by things I needed, or thought I needed, for our trip to visit family in Florida: sun hats and a dress for our cousin’s wedding. I realized along the way I needed a new swimsuit, and I should probably get a second dress for the reception… But what has happened since defies need.

All day, I am driven by a relentless need to acquire.  I develop a passing interest in something new and then spend whole days researching all the best gear to pursue that activity. I imagine myself living a certain kind of life — of an ultralight camper, of a home-maker, of a beach baby, a horse trainer, an artist, a musician, a photographer — and I simply must shop to achieve that image. Both online and in the store, I spend money without regard to budget. Store credit with 12-months same-as-cash? Yes, please. The kids need a PS4; what can I do?

But they don’t need it, and I have grown increasingly concerned at my (seeming) inability to slow or check the urge to consume, to obtain, to have things.

It was only this morning, shopping for towels I don’t need in anticipation of hosting people I don’t know, that I found the space to examine my behavior. Obviously, this urge to obtain is connected to the feeling of lack, and it does not take a seasoned psychiatrist to riddle out what is absent from my life.

None of this shopping, none of the things I replace or add to my storehouses of junk, will fill the void his death has created in my heart. They say time will, but that remains to be seen. For now, I will have to abide this vacuum, this empty space, and resist the siren call of this gadget or that hobby which promise – but forever fail – to fill it.