I discovered today that shopping can actually be a Zen experience.
I know. It surprised me too.
Dylan had a Nutcracker rehearsal at the Four Seasons, which is close to the Eaton Centre, the big mall in downtown Toronto. So I decided I’d go there after dropping him off. My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I had a good idea what I wanted to get her.
But first, I was starving. So I took myself to Santouka Ramen and had a lovely bowl of shoyu ramen. Usually there’s a line-up but (1) it was the first real snowy day of the year and (2) since I was by myself I just took one of the stools at the bar in front of the kitchen.
Other than time spent working in front of a computer, I don’t actually get a lot of time to myself. And one of my favourite things to do when I do have a bit of time to myself is to dine out solo. It’s not that I’m fervently anti-social, it’s just that sometimes, it’s nice to sit down and have dinner with just yourself.
So I had a marvellous time, and, feeling properly nourished, I was ready to
attack tackle the crowds at the mall. You’d think it being the middle of a weekday, there wouldn’t be any crowds, but the place was pretty full (I’d hate to see what it must be like on the weekends) – but not so packed that it made you feel like you wouldn’t get anything accomplished.
I went straight to the store where I wanted to get Hayley’s present. Well, not quite “straight to”, as I had to look it up first and then find my way there. But it was nice getting there. There were big wire reindeers wrapped in white lights and a generally happy kind of vibe in the air. People were smiling, probably glad to be inside getting some shopping done rather than outside in the wet snow.
It took me a while to decide on just the right birthday gift, but when I was done, I realized I still had two hours before I had to go pick up Dylan.
Two Whole Hours.
And this is where the Zen kicked in. I kind of got lost in the zone after that. I wandered around looking at things, not feeling any need to buy and being really comfortable with Just Browsing. And then I passed the big Chapters book store. With a Starbucks inside.
I spent most of my time at Chapters in the cookbook section, because reading cookbooks is something I love to do, and for some reason, reading cookbooks usually falls to the very bottom of my priority list. I found some interesting titles, which I jotted down in the Drafts app on my iPhone (which oh so conveniently appends whatever I write onto a list titled “Books” that’s stored in my Dropbox).
We have, more or less, placed a moratorium on buying more cookbooks until we weed through the ones we have, as our apartment is too small for us to squeeze any more shelves in and cookbooks by their nature tend to be much bigger than novels. But! There’s always the library, right?
I wandered happily upstairs to where the Starbucks was, but the line-up was long, so I wandered back downstairs, and took this picture for my Christmas wish list, which I then texted to Ward (technology makes things like letting people know what you want for Christmas SO easy).
(Can you tell, my mind’s been on food all day?)
And after all of this lovely shoppingness, I still had time. The luxury of it! After close to two months of constant, consistent deadlines – which kind of worked like this: deadline, deadline, overlapping deadlines, deadline, overlapping deadlines, deadlines – it was so amazing to have all this time to myself.
It didn’t take me long to decide my next move. I headed over to the Timothy’s World Coffee at Atrium on the Bay, ordered an iced decaf Americano (because I was so hot after spending all that time wandering the shops while in my winter coat) and spent the rest of the time leisurely reading and commenting on blogs, adding to my TBR list and writing the beginning of this blog post.
So I spent the day shopping and I felt so present the entire time. I tell you, this was a first for me. And it was really, really lovely.
And hopefully I can get this magical shopping vibe going every time I go shopping from now on.