Finding my way back (to that girl from the barrio)


here was a time when I wouldn’t flinch buying a €400 designer bag on sale, however impractical , just because I liked the colour. I had no child, no mortgage, no debt, and lots of dispensable cash. And I didn’t stop at one bag.

I had several, for different occasions. They’re not astronomically pricey but expensive relative to what I’m earning. I also collected designer shoes, clothes, lingerie, watches, some of them I’ve given away because they’re not the right size or I was tired of them after a few months. Oh the money I’ve wasted for a fleeting sense of happiness.

Life is different now. I’m strapped to the bank for at least two more decades because I own a house. I have a child whose needs are more expensive that designer bags (shoes at €80 for 6-month use!) and well, the money is not that dispensable anymore.

When I trained for the Kustmarathon last year I had to squeeze in the necessary kilometres in my busy day. So I ran to work. I’d get out the door between 6:30-7:00AM and sometimes still be the first in the office. It’s about 12 kilometres and depending on my tempo on a particular day, I’d be running for little less than 1.5 hours. Or I’d be running home from work, which I particularly enjoy in the winter for those amazing sunsets.

I use a camel bag from Nathan (not sponsored), a little water bag that can carry 2 litres of water, my small card/key purse, phone and maybe one t-shirt or a thin, summer dress. This is the only bag I carry to work a couple of times a week, nothing else.

I’ve been pondering on this simplicity lately. I mean, if I can go to work with only a card/key purse and my telephone, why did I need all those designer bags for? If I’m spending most of free time running anyway, I’ve no need for designer shoes.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t spend on shoes anymore. I still go for the quality, functional stuff and quality things carry a price tag, not as hefty as designer price tag though. And besides, a designer brand does not always guarantee quality.

I wanted to buy a nice, eco-friendly backpack the other day and already put this pretty one from O My Bag (not sponsored) on my wish list. But rummaging through the stock room last week, I found a small backpack given to me by a colleague, one of those giveaways when you accumulate enough points from a supermarket. I took it on a day trip once and it was so handy. It fits a book, notepad, a bottle of water, wet wipes, a diaper, and possibly my camera, basically my whole life. Again I thought, it can be this simple. I’ve no need for a new bag.

Life had become so much simpler since I started running. And when I became a mother, I’d even dare say that I’ve embrace the minimalist lifestyle. Where before joy is something I’d get from buying pretty things, I’m now looking at the simplest things in life for happiness, and they just happen to be much more affordable than designer brands.

I think I’m slowly finding my way back to that simple girl from the barrio, the one that I temporarily forgot chasing the hedonistic lifestyle on a European salary.