The last few whirlwind weeks have been instructive. Teachers know that the last six weeks or so of a semester are a nightmare of exhaustion. Students start yelling at teachers (I had that happen yesterday). Seniors lose momentum and you have to keep them on track to graduate. Piles of papers teeter. Excuses and requests for extensions roll in. Meanwhile--we have been looking at houses. An hour away.
During this ordeal--which I hope will be oever soon, appraisal and inspection willing--I realized that my desires had shifted. No longer am I thinking about which handbag I should buy for my upcoming 60th birthday in January. No, I am thinking about how to help Frugal Son set up his house. And how to save some more so that we can similarly help Miss Em when the time comes (probably not for a while; she has a different trajectory of ambition).
There's nothing wrong with buying a nice handbag. Or anything really (though I hope I remain more attentive to the human and environmental cost of things). But I see that I get sucked into the consumer maelstrom as much as anyone--though I sometimes don't think I do.
The thing is: it's hard to figure out what you want! Really want.