Advice to Myself

Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
-from ‘Advice to Myself’ by Louise Erdrich

My month-long self-imposed spending hiatus has not been going well.  Instead of buying for myself, I started buying for the house.  Little things that had bothered me for a long time suddenly seemed intolerable.  I cleaned out Ger’s entire closet and rid him of decade-old shirts and pants, and then went to the outlet mall to outfit him with a new wardrobe – something we had been discussing in passing for year, but never got around to.  I had an appliance repair man come out and fix the burner on our stove that has not been working for over a year.  I turned an old sandbox in the backyard into a garden bed.

The “little things” became a bigger thing when I decided to make over the man-cave in our basement.  It was a non-functional room and I wanted it to have usefulness.  Rearranging furniture and one new daybed from IKEA later and it had new life.

I felt no guilt about spending on our house, but wondered why I could not keep to my self-prescribed plan.  It was a bit perplexing since usually when I set a goal for myself, I operate with fierce determination.  As I worked on the room makeover, it hit me.  I am not using spending to offset depression or trying to give myself a “pick-me-up.”  I am trying to fix things.  It started with myself, and clothes that made me feel comfortable after losing the babies.  Now it has progressed to fixing and improving the house.  I spoke to my therapist about it this week.  She thinks that my desire to “fix” things is actually very healthy – a sign of wanting things to be better.  Also wanting control when I have felt so out of control for many months.  She did not condemn my actions.

In the very near future, I will have crossed off all of the small “things that have bothered me about this house.”  I also came to the realization that I need a new savings goal.  The money that I have been spending was from a savings account we had set aside for baby purchases.  Another reason why it hurt so much to see it just sitting there.  Coming up with a new savings goal will help me refocus.  But it is also hard to consider when I do not know what my family will look like a year from now…

In the meantime, I am writing this in the newly completed room.  I called it the “woman cave” but I did not like the name.  Instead, I have dubbed it The Creative Lounge (love to Mad Men) because for me, it is a room where I can write and maybe some day paint.