I’m looking at a Venn diagram entitled, “Am I Overthinking This?” drawn by artist Michelle Rial and it’s providing a welcome distraction from trying to work out if we need an extra bottle of milk in the shopping.
I’ve been saying for months that doing food shopping online is not only safer but also more cost-effective because it avoids the temptation of impulse buying.
Recently I have acknowledged that this claim is not strictly true because what it actually does is afford me the ability to impulse buy from the comfort of my chair, desk, or bed.
“Does anyone need anything in the shopping?”
Nobody can think of anything I haven’t already got.
“Falafels please,” my son calls out, smug in the certainty that I won’t have thought of that.
“I’m making some for lunch tomorrow,” I call back, having discovered three unopened bags of chickpeas at the back of the larder that I’ve bought intermittently through the year.
“There’ll be hummus too,” I add, and there will be. A lot of it.
It’s not just food either.
This year I have allowed myself to buy books with alarming abandon. I have justified this on the basis that I am not spending any money going out.
When I tell my daughter this she says,
“You never went out anyway.”
As Christmas approached I hid my guilty secret under the convenient guise of gifting.
I’d see a book that “so and so” would like, then I’d buy it until I had more books than friends or family members.
This strange year has been much kinder to me than many but something has been lurking underneath that has obviously required the comfort of hunkering down with a full larder and a stack of books.
I learned long ago that stress is often hard to identify in myself.
It is rare for me to feel wound like a spring but the impact of life’s twists and turns tends to take hold in other ways.
When corporate life wore me down, a fact my wife pointed out approximately a decade before I started listening, I would not have said that it was causing me stress, and yet it landed me, one way or another and via a number of destructive deviations of my own making, in a psychiatric hospital.
So maybe a few extra books and too much hummus are not an especially heavy price to pay for staying balanced and comforted through such an extraordinary time.
I finish up with the shopping by trying to decide if I should buy a box of shortbread, even though my sister often gets us a tin for Christmas. I buy one, just in case.
In bed, I return to Michelle Rial’s Venn diagram on her Instagram feed, and, flicking through some of her other beautiful illustrations, I check her profile to see if she has published a book.