Monthly Archives: January 2015

From Saver to Spender

After almost three years in Japan I am getting ready to leave. For various reason I chose not to renew my contract, and perhaps someday I’ll address those on this blog. Most likely I won’t. They neither make good stories nor are they delightful. Living overseas is wearing, and I am almost worn thin.

What I do want to address is part of the process of exiting. There will be stressful parts to this, but so far I’ve been enjoying some elements, and these are the ones I want to share with you today.

Where I Saved
First of all, I’m a saver. I like saving things – whether money, favors, or gifts – until the right moment. Strategy is such a key part of my functioning that even delight is strategized to maximize enjoyment. Of course, this can backfire too. Sometimes the right moment never arrives. Like that trump card a player holds onto a bit too long, occasionally I find that I have a metaphorical hand full of good cards and need to use them in a hurry.

I’m in that moment now. And, boy, am I enjoying it. Food, candles, and toiletries are being used with a vengeance. That dried fruit that my brother sent me that I was saving for a special occasion? I guess this oatmeal is the batch to eat it in. The vegetables I froze last summer? This is the batch of marinara sauce to add them to. The chocolate bars my friend gave me for Christmas? No point in leaving them around for another day. During down time at work I find myself thinking, “Oh, yeah, I have a jar of lemon curd that I need to eat. Should I have it plain or on pancakes? That can of cherry filling in the back of my cupboard, should I make it into a small pie or eat it with vanilla ice cream?” And the great thing is, there aren’t any wrong answers here.

The candles my sister sent me? Well, they aren’t coming with me, so lighting a candle has become a basic part of my evening routine. And almost every refill of my humidifier receives a sprinkling of the essential oils I bought last summer. My apartment smells GOOD these days.

Quite a few toiletries I use on a regular basis. Others are special occasion items. Those are the ones I’m having to work on. Someone just gave me bubble bath for Christmas. Well, I guess I’m going to be taking a few extra baths over the next few months. A set of moisturizing gloves I bought months ago got pulled out last night. I still think there might have been a better time to use those, but at this point such extraneous items just need to GO.

Where I Spent
While in some areas I am having to rapidly use what I own, in others I am hoping that what is left will last until the moment I leave. The primary thing in this category is clothes and shoes. I’m basically living in two pairs of boots these days. And some of my clothes are getting holes. These items are used for layering, so the holes aren’t seen when I leave the house. Nevertheless, it is still a little odd to look at each and know this is yet another thing I won’t be taking with me. Yes, I could buy replacements. But I can’t guarantee that I would have space for them in the final suitcase. I look at some items and think, “I’d use this in the U.S., but it isn’t worth the fee for extra luggage.” So, I’m making do.

Probably the oddest thing is that, at this exact moment, thriftyness and indulgence are being experienced side by side. My hope is that I will pass this season fully enjoying the latter while not forgetting the discipline of the former.

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