Valet parking, aborted landings, and a fab view of the Eiffel Tower. Travel; an anxious recovering shopaholics worst nightmare!

I have to admit I’m not a confident flyer. Ironic with the amount I travel for work.

So my trip to Paris last week didn’t get off to a great start.  I arrive at the meet and greet spot and the guy asks if I want the car cleaning.  My reaction as always is, yes please.  I walk away smug that another thing on the to do list is done, yay me!  Then it dawned on me.  One of the reasons I am currently financially wobbly is this automatic response to out sourcing every little job.  I just don’t think I just pay.  Too late to run back and change my mind ( I was through security before I really thought about it) I found myself alone in T4 with 3 hours to kill.

The thing is when I travel I’m ‘working’ mostly so I simply see everything as an expense I can reclaim.  The heart stopping reality is I don’t.  Well to be fair I’m not sure many clients are willing to pay for my car to be cleaned.  Anyway my head gets in this space.  I drink in the afternoon, ‘treat’ myself to a nice lunch to pass the time and I buy stuff.

Well this time after the car wash incident I was treading a little more carefully.  I did need to eat but did I need a three course meal with wine?  No.  Risotto at Carluccio’s with a can of San Peregrino thank you very much.  How easy was that?  Well not as easy as I had hoped.  It took me 20 minutes to decide I shouldn’t have a glass of wine.  20 minutes!

Next thing I know my colleagues have arrived and I’m safe in the company of fellow consultants.  These nomads are my tribe, we have a glass of wine and catch up.

Having resisted the lure of Chanel and L’occtaine we make onto the aircraft.  I hate flying but it is an necessary evil in my line of work.  London to Paris is simply up and down again.  Hardly time for them to throw you a drink and a sandwich before we are heading in to land.

With Capercaille on Spotify as my ‘go to’ calming music I see the lights of Charles De Gaulle and carry on preparing for the next days event.

Then, all of a sudden we are climbing and fast.  I’m instantly terrified.  My first thought is William, in that moment I miss him.  I can feel the tears coming and fight hard to stop them.  Still no announcement.  The landing gear must be broken why else would we not land.

In the three minutes it took for the crew to make an announcement I was already in deep panic.  My son without a mummy, my mum without her only daughter I get to utter fear so fast.  Then the pilot explains we were too close to the plane ahead and had been asked to go round again.  I breathe.  Today is not the day I die.  He then pointed us to the wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower, I smile.

When William was six months old I found out I had post natal depression or later to be more specific anxiety.  I didn’t feel low I was terrified all day everyday.  Terrified I would lose him or I would die and leave him.  I would lie in bed at night and try to decide what music to play at his funeral (seriously I know how utterly wrong that sounds) my mind would create these situations that just felt so real.

William is now four and although I still worry thanks to Mel Robbins and the 5 second rule it doesn’t drown me like it used to.

When I thought about writing this I realised that the anxiety and the spending, they are linked weirdly.  I think its about where I focus.  Nothing bad happens when you are buying beautiful bed linen or dreaming about the colour of your living room, feeling all the fabrics lined up like soldiers in John Lewis.  That Mulberry handbag, the Jigsaw scarf.  If I fill my life with beautiful things I can’t fill my head with the bad stuff.

When I look back I have been doing this forever!  The spending without thought and the anxiety they have always been there.

So how on earth do I unpick this one.

Well I have a budget now and I have worked out exactly how much interest I am and will pay on the credit card and loan I have.  Its a lot!  Especially since I have been paying the minimum amount on the credit card for over two years now and if I continued to do this it would take over four years and I would pay £4000 in interest, the debt is £9000!  This has to stop.

In the summer I managed to make nearly £2000 selling stuff on eBay.  Then I spent all of it on ‘kit’ for camping.

We camped for five days.

One festival and two days in France before quitting and heading to Mums.  I fell in love with the idea of William and I having adventures the reality is you can have adventures staying in hotels.  The festival was great fun and we will do that again for sure but holidays in a tent they are just not for me!

That £2000 would have paid off a quarter of my credit card, 25%!  All of it was me trying to create something that I thought would be fun rather than doing what I know I enjoy.  That must sound crazy.

This is the key I think.  Believing life will be better when… Well life is pretty fun without camping.  William is in Barbados right now having fun in a hotel.  He has spent every waking moment on the beach and in the sea, thats where he wants to be.

So I need to build in thinking time, this is not a new idea and I have watched enough show about shopaholics to realise I need to break the pattern.  I’ve taken my card details off amazon and PayPal so I CANNOT  one click and pay.  These apps and systems take the thinking time out of buying and when I don’t think I just spend.

I think its time I started feeling all the things I need to feel and stop filling that space with bags full of stuff.   Its a long road ahead, step one is getting debt free if I work hard I think I can do it in 18 months but to do that I must learn how to feel and know that feeling scared, anxious and unhappy are all normal. This is not going to easy but without the lows we don’t appreciate the highs.

But then again without the aborted landing I would never have seen the Eiffel Tower looking so stunning.

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