Once upon a time, I was a handbag addict. I was in deep for more than ten years. Coach was my gateway drug, and then I moved on to Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chloe, Celine, Balenciaga, Mulberry, and eventually, Hermès. Part of the fun was hunting down exactly the right bag, analyzing color and material and size and style down to the tiniest detail. Walking out of the store with my newest acquisition was always wonderful. I’d feel pleased and delighted and happy for a day or a week or a month, and then move on to seek out the next one. I put this cycle on hold throughout our foreclosure and bankruptcy ordeal, but then picked it back up later, albeit slightly less enthusiastically, once I could afford it again. Carrying one of these beautiful works of art simply made me feel special.
Over the last few years though, most of my bags have been sitting in the closet. I think living in Colorado is less conducive to fancy-ness, and I have a strong aversion to being ostentatious. So last year I decided to sell most of my handbags (nothing like a global pandemic to shift one’s priorities), and was astonished to realize that I needed a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. I promised myself at the time that if I sold a whole bunch of them I could reward myself with one fabulous, expensive bag with the proceeds, and at least it would take up less room. Six months later, though, I still haven’t been able to justify that purchase.
The upside is that I have $7k more in VTSAX just because I cleaned my closet. The downside is that I am still tempted by beautiful handbags. I can still recognize and identify a luxury bag at fifty paces. I still find myself looking at them longingly, admiring the colors and textures, and wanting that sweet dopamine buzz I used to feel after my new purchases. And at the same time, realistically they just don’t fit into my life any more. Looking back, it seems so dumb that I even got into that habit in the first place, but I try not to beat myself up over it. We value what we value, and that changes and evolves over time as we grow and learn things about the world and about ourselves. If I do go back to acquiring them again, it will be much more as a special occasion. Once I hit FI and start traveling, maybe I can get one or two directly from the source. It will be so much more meaningful to pick out a beautiful Hermès in Paris or a Prada in Milan — as a memento of my lived experience — than from clicking “Buy Now” on a website.