I would generally consider myself someone who’s conservative with their money.
I’m not particularly stingy or tight, but overall I’ve never been a big spender.
Part of this, I think, has to do with two things. The first is just the way I was raised, and the second is that I just don’t really like to shop that much.
Sure, I can find 123,900 things in Target I don’t need in a solid half hour, but tell me that I’m going to go on a “girls’ shopping spree” for the day, and I’m honestly less than thrilled. Malls and stores make me tired, and although I do like pretty and new things, the whole process of actually getting them wears me out.
What normally happens is that I’ll find something I like, try it on, debate for about 10 minutes in the dressing room if I really need it, and eventually I’ll decide I don’t, then I’ll do the exact same thing in the next store, on and on. It’s very unproductive, and all the time I “waste” by talking myself out of buying things is reason enough to keep me out of shopping centers a lot of the time.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when I recently had to cut myself off because I’d been spending so much more money than normal on things. Not Menchies or race registrations like I normally save all my pennies for, but real things.
And why, you might wonder, did my credit card recently decide to get all stir crazy?
My official diagnosis is this: Injury Coping Mechanism, also known as an unusual, subconscious habit you develop to distract you from being injured.
You see, once I actually realized the increase in money I’d been spending…there was a very obvious thread in all the purchases being made.
Every. Single. Thing. was for running.
I think it’s no coincidence that over the time I’ve been unable to run, somehow I decided to buy the neon pink top I never would have considered otherwise, or the Garmin I’ve been putting off buying for months, or the pair of shoes that were unnecessary but might make running easier.
There were a few more items purchased, but I’ll spare you for fear of being called a lush.
Which I’m not, I swear. I just happen to have a very odd coping mechanism when it comes to being injured, in the form of outfitting myself for whenever I am running again. A bad case of ICM, apparently.
The funny thing is that I actually didn’t realize what I was doing at first. It wasn’t even until I was recounting some of my latest additions to my running lifestyle to someone else that I realized just how much I had bought in such a short period of time. And for someone who is normally very thrifty with their money, I could only look to my IT band as the culprit of it all.
It really does make perfect sense. Though I may have being doing it subconsciously, a part of my brain obviously wanted to feel like it was “preparing” or “getting ready” to run again. I think it’s a comfort thing: if I’m acting the part, I must still be a runner, right? Of course, I know I will be and still am a runner despite my injury and shiny things, but it’s interesting to note just how injury coping emancipates.
I think everyone has certain things that they do, I guess this just happens to be mine. And don’t worry, I’m cut off—and everything I did buy during my ICM-induced craziness will actually be useful once I’m out on the roads again.
What is your injury coping mechanism? Chocolate? Cross-training? Sitting on your butt and loving every minute of it?