By Klancy Hoover
Because I am taking a trip to Scotland over the summer, budgeting has become an important step in my everyday routine. I have to ensure that the funds that I have left aside for the trip are not added to the funds for my student loans or for necessities. Occasionally I will allow myself to splurge a little and purchase something that I really want, but recently I have noticed that “occasionally” has almost become recreational when it comes to buying books. It started with buying multiple sequels to series I hadn’t started yet, convincing myself that the purchases were necessary in case I loved the first book and needed to read the second one. If I’m being honest, though, I had really only bought the sequels to display their pretty covers on my bookshelf.
You see, adding books to my bookshelf makes me inexplicably happy. Some of the books on my bookshelf have been there for years, quietly watching as I slowly began to collect more stories to add to my growing personal library and heart. Whenever I buy a new book, it’s like welcoming a new friend into a community that has shaped me over the years and comforted me whenever I have needed it the most. Now, though, my book buying tendencies have become a bit of a problem. I have recently moved from only purchasing books to also purchasing anything that is remotely book-related. I’ve bought bookish candles, literary teas, multiple book subscription boxes, bookmarks, T-shirts, and even socks. At one point I didn’t have enough storage to keep everything organized, so I also had to buy containers to hold all of my book-related items. It was easy to turn a blind eye to my shopping habits when all of the things I had purchased were hidden away in containers. When it became hard to view the books on my bookshelf, however, I realized that I had a problem.
The problem, I have come to realize, is that I rely on books for emotional support. When my thoughts start to turn against me by questioning everything about myself and my actions, sometimes it feels like a situation is too much to bear. I begin to retreat into myself. My emotions wash over me and pin me into place with their intensity. Through these debilitating moments, I have come to find that books are able to help draw me out of my thoughts by forcing me to focus on something that isn’t related to what I’m worrying about. Books have almost become a lifeline for me, which makes it so much harder to stop myself from acting on impulse whenever I feel the emotional need to reach out for a story and escape. But if I’m going to start taking control of my impulses, I need to find another outlet other than spending money on books.
Learning to step back from my impulse to buy more books has been difficult, as I’m sure that others of you have realized too. It’s hard changing a routine that you’ve become accustomed to, especially when that routine revolves around something you’re passionate about. But even though it may be hard, it’s important to take a step back, breathe, and think about what you’re purchasing. Being cognizant of my spending habits and learning how to manage my impulsivity has added a balance to my day-to-day life that I value greatly. I still allow myself to purchase a book every so often, but I try not to let it be my response to every emotional situation. Books are still a central part of my life. I just try to not let them be a central part of my funds too.
Edited by: Rachael Teelander