And it's not because I'm more than five weeks into a shopping ban and have turned into a sanctimonious anti-consumer, like a pack-a-day smoker who gives up and becomes the most fervent and annoying anti-smoking advocate ever (not yet anyway). No. I would have found this sad and ridiculous before I gave up shopping for shoes and clothes. Really. Because as much as I love(d) buying new clothes and shoes, I never believed it had the power to make me happy - or unhappy. (Debt, on the other hand...)
The image was posted by a skincare and cosmetics retailer, and it's no surprise they want people to part with their money, but it's not really that that bothers me. It bothers me because...what sort of life do you lead if not buying something—a lipstick!—is what you regret most in life? Either a bloody charmed one, or a very shallow and meaningless one. Perhaps it's time to get off Instagram and go out and live a little and take some risks and maybe come to regret something that's actually worth regretting?
It probably seems as if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, and based on this image alone, I admit that I would be, but it's not just this Instagram post that's got to me. When I first joined Instagram, I followed a bunch of fashion types—predominantly lovers of pin-up and retro style. I also followed some of them on Facebook and subscribed to the blogs of a few and devoured their archives in a few sittings because I couldn't get enough of their gorgeous dresses and stunning hair and make-up.
I loved looking at their outfit-of-the-day photos and reading their blogs posts with photoshoots of new purchases...until eventually I started to think, "But do you really need another new dress? How do you manage to wear the 267 dresses you already own, let alone add one to the rotation?"
This is one of the reasons I decided to stop buying clothes—because I already have enough and I want to enjoy wearing what I have, not feel bad about all the stuff I'm neglecting because I want to wear the new dress I just bought...and then the next new dress and the next one. There are only seven days in a week after all. Even a bargain isn't a bargain if you wear it once and never again.
There was one hardcore pin-up fashionista I followed on Instagram and FB, and I subscribed to her blog. I loved her style and she's gorgeous, but when she returned from one shopping trip with six—SIX!— new cardigans to add to her already extensive cardigan collection, I couldn't hack it anymore. The conspicuous consumption eventually turned me off more than the gorgeous dresses thrilled me (and this was before my shopping ban). I've unfollowed her on all platforms, and most of the others as well.
So that's why the "nothing haunts us like the things we didn't buy" post on Instagram annoyed me so much. I do feel a bit of a hypocrite given I've obviously been quite the conspicuous consumer myself in the past. I suppose I saw part of myself reflected in these women and I didn't like what I saw. But now I'm reformed! Or reforming.