I thought I was going to get through this winter without a significant sink into the winter blues. But alas …
In a recent post, Revanche from A Gai Shan Life wrote, “The truth is I’m hungover from last year.” I had a moment of recognition when I read those words – because I think I’m hungover from last year too – particularly November of last year. My mom’s passing November 20, her birthday, was a huge loss. The death of our dog Rocky, November 7 (strangely enough, my father’s birthday), was a sucker punch at a time that was difficult enough. The flea infestation he left behind him just added an element of the bizarre to our grief.
There was busy-ness leading up to the funeral, and then more leading up to Christmas. I don’t think I processed things fully then. So I’m hungover now.
Strong longings to spend…
… on a trip south
As the March Break approached this year, I really, really wanted to travel somewhere with sunshine and warmth. “We’ll just get in the car and drive south for two days,” I thought. It didn’t matter to me where we ended up, so long as it was sunny. But DH had been having slow business, and even a frugal vacation would have cost us hundreds of dollars that we couldn’t justify spending. We didn’t travel south. And though I hate to admit it, I must confess that after the March Break I had a hard time seeing the happy, refreshed, tanned faces of colleagues who had enjoyed a get-away in the sun.
… on a gym membership
It was during the March Break that I got the chance to use a free day pass to a nearby gym – a pretty posh facility. I took part in a step class that left me properly exhausted, and then I did about 20 minutes of weights. After that, I swam laps – for the first time in years – and then just soaked in the hot tub. It was a great work-out, and I enjoyed the added bonus of running into a couple of people I knew.
Last September, when I gave up my gym membership to be more frugal, I found that I managed to do plenty of work-outs on my own. Bike rides, jogs, and two free visits per week as a Planet Fitness guest kept me as fit as I wanted to be. Once winter hit, snowshoeing replaced the cycling and jogging. But then a few weeks ago we had that awful combination of melt, rain, and freeze that left our part of the world a skating rink – not enough snow and too much ice for snowshoeing. And my Planet Fitness member friend? She’s in Florida for the month.
“Maybe a gym membership isn’t such a bad idea …” I found myself thinking after using that free day pass. But I know that warmer weather is just around the corner. The ice will melt; the roads and paths will be jogger- and cyclist-friendly again soon. I decided to wait. No gym membership for me.
… on an expensive restaurant meal
Last week was a crazy week at work. I wasn’t home until well after 7:00 from Monday to Thursday. As I drove home Tuesday evening, I started to fantasize about Pure Kitchen, a wonderful local restaurant we had discovered shortly after switching to a plant-based diet a couple of months ago. For us, the occasional $7-$10 veggie burger meal at fast-food places has been a recent form of treat. A couple of meals at Pure Kitchen would cost much more than that amount.
When I got home, I told DH I wanted to go out to eat. We never go out week nights, but I wasn’t pretending it was a rational suggestion. Much to my surprise, DH said, “Let’s go.” He added, “I think we have to work a little sanity-saving into our budget.” It’s only now that I recognize his recent search for a new-used car (which we didn’t buy) as possibly being his own winter-blues fix.
Is there a place for emotional spending?
Emotional spending can definitely be a problem. In our case, we could have gone south for the March Break in a new-to-us vehicle, and I could have signed up for a gym membership. The car, the trip, and the posh gym would have given me a relief from my “hungover” winter blues, but only a temporary one. The high from emotional spending only lasts so long. It’s a band-aid fix.
But sometimes a band-aid is a good thing.
DH and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal out together. We broke every rule in the frugality handbook – ordering appetizers, wine, coffee and dessert besides the delicious main course. It was a short-lived escape from the cold outside (and it was cold outside that night) – a mere band-aid. But I think it might have been just what we needed.
Do you sometimes indulge in emotional spending? Do you think there is some room for it? Your comments are welcome.
Image courtesy of Flickr