Day 23, Items Purchased: 0 Temptation Radar : 3 (because I was really craving a Target trip)
I stumbled upon the most intriguing book recently, and having the ability to download it onto my ipad made it impossible to resist. Entitled, Service and Style, How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class, the book, authored by Jan Whitaker, chronicles the history of the department store and how it’s ascendancy over the years has shaped society and helped create and contribute to the definition of social classes. It also touches on evolution of shopping components like women’s wear, credit vs. cash, window-shopping, and a myriad of other topics. Being that I’m extremely interested in the idea of transformation these days, coupled with the current shopping conundrum, it seemed like a perfect addition to my literature arsenal. I’ve only swept thru about the first 100 pages and I’m totally hooked…..fascinated really. You see, I’m a firm believer in the idea that ” you can’t know where you’re going until you understand where you’ve been.” Commerce and consumerism are huge influences on us. They dictate in many ways how we live, the decisions we make, and yield their persuasive power in a way that even trickles down to our interpersonal relationships and how we deal with people.
Everything is generational. Everything. Life is a series of hand-me-downs, if you really think about it; good, bad and neutral. Ideas, worldviews, traditions, habits,genetic, wounds, pain, talents, addictions,strengths, status. etc., are each examples of stuff we inherit. Everything passed down to us in life, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, cultural, social, economical, must be filtered by us upon exposure, simply stated: we must determine whether or not we “buy in”. Our acceptance of the inheritance shapes its potency in our lives. Some things believed by us to be “absolute” based on our historically defined destiny, may actually prove dormant or powerless, while others electrified and active, if we know where we came from and understand the strength of our choices. What pushes us over? What solidifies the buy-in? Hilariously, some of these questions began to escalate as I was internally nudged about the whole topic of “shopping” and its prominent position of priority in my personal life. Seems deep, for what was defined by me early on, simply as another “Confession of a Shopaholic” project; but it is deep. I’ve no clue about the answers.
So tonight, I’m sort of in research mode. This project is 22 days in. It feels a lot longer, honestly; not because I’m jones-ing to shop, as much as I am thinking about so much. I find myself with an increased sensitivity that I find hard to articulate. I feel myself reaching more for purpose and to make sense of this journey. So tonight, before I turn in, I’ll dive into this book a little more. After all, I did want to read more this year. Understanding the evolution and history of shopping and how stores developed is interesting in itself. However, I suspect that as trivial as reading a consumer retail history book seems, it will somehow behold the next clue for what lies ahead in my shopfast discovery.