The boys took me downtown a few weekends ago. As we drove up Michigan Avenue on our way home, I stared out the car window, scouring the storefronts as usual for fabulous-looking clothing and alluring miscellany I’d probably never own.
However, instead of feeling pangs of wishing that, rather than riding in the passenger seat of my car, I could be freely walking into La Perla myself or that I could afford the great dress in the Max Mara window, I felt contentment. Relief. I don’t have to spend a moment of energy on wanting these things because I’m not in the market for anything right now. I am not in the market.
I’ve taken myself out of the market. And, in this moment, it’s liberating.
I shifted my gaze to people’s faces, rather than to conjecturing on the content of their bags. Of those carrying bags and popping in and out of shops, I did not see one person smiling on Michigan Avenue, from the river to Lake Shore Drive—aka The Magnificent Mile—not a one.
I, on the other hand, in the passenger seat of my humble grocery getter, was really smiling. Wind in my hair, healthy bubbly kids in the backseat, rad husband at the wheel. It was so simple. Cruising Michigan Ave had suddenly become an entirely different experience.
When have I ever not been thinking about something I wanted to buy? When have I ever looked at a gorgeous, well-appointed woman and not wanted what was on her body? When have I driven down Michigan Avenue and not quietly wondered what it’s really like to be a regular in the Louis Vuitton store? I cannot remember a single time.
As Americans, when have any of us not been in the market for anything? As Americans, we ARE the market. Taking myself out of the shopping game has been super hard in so many ways, but it’s also the best thing I could’ve done for myself in this season. At least for today, I am free.