Purse candy is the name I came up with to describe the phenomenon of finding a treat in my purse days or weeks after buying it, having completely forgotten about the purchase.
Is it just me?
I wanted to write about it since there is a lesson to be learned. But, that lesson only comes from being conscious of my decision-making process.
When I think back to the purchases, I recognize a few things were going on in my head:
- Oh, I want that.
- A treat would be nice.
- I should probably buy it.
But what I was not hearing was:
- You aren’t really hungry right now.
- You don’t need this treat.
- This isn’t a limited time offer – the treat will always be accessible for a time when you are actually hungry or when it’s worth it.
And since I was not hungry and I didn’t need the treat in that moment, it went in the purse. Then it was forgotten.
When I eventually find the treat, say for example, a pack of Justin’s peanut butter cups, I have mixed emotions, and it would sound a little something like this in my head:
First: “Oh ya! Nice. I completely forgot. Now I have an unexpected treat.”
Second: “Hmm. I guess I really didn’t need to buy this if it’s been in here for days and I never noticed. I feel a bit foolish. I probably don’t need this now either.”
Third: “Yum. That was tasty.”
Maybe you don’t find treats in your purse. Maybe you don’t even have a purse. But, maybe your ‘purse candy’ is finding treats in your home that you had completely forgotten about. Or in the office or the car.
Regardless, the lesson is similar.
You must not have cared too much about the treat if the moment it was out of sight, you didn’t miss it.
So, let it be a lesson for future you. When you are faced with the option of a treat and you hear an excited inner voice… listen for the rest of the inner voice – the one that knows whether this treat is actually worth it. Sometimes it is. I’m not anti-treat. But it should come from a conscious, deliberate place. A mindset in which you really pay attention. Be present. Listen for the answers to the questions:
Am I hungry? Is this special? It is worth it?
I’m guessing more often than not, the treat is not special and will probably still be available if, in the future, you still want it.
And, if you do stumble across some purse candy, choose to hear the lesson. There is no reason to feel ashamed or be hard on yourself. It’s a lesson. Learn from it.
I don’t doubt I will continue to occasionally discover forgotten treats. But I do believe it will happen less if I continue to pay attention and stay present in my decision-making. And, maybe, like the last time this happened, I will give it away.