When did we decide that we were not worth it?
When did we begin to tell ourselves the choices that bring us joy were too expensive/impractical/self-indulgent?
I remember, as a young girl, asking for a $20 calendar for my birthday. My mother told me it would be “shameful” to spend $20 on a calendar, that something so frivolous was a waste of money. She easily spent more than $20 on my present, but ignored what I wanted. This was not done in a spiteful way; she was just raised in a very stoic, Midwestern home with all the frugal values that come with that uprbringing.
My attitude at that young age was not hers. Rather, I felt nothing that brings joy could be considered a waste of money. Somewhere in between my young self and my middle-aged self, I forgot that truth.
At forty-something, I want joy. I’ve lived long enough to know it comes and goes—but I can encourage it to cross the threshold with a gorgeous welcome mat and a genuine smile.
I want the soft, gorgeous sweater that makes me feel good. I am done opting instead for something less expensive and totally uninspired.
I want the supple leather bookmark engraved with a quote that makes me smile, rather than the free, flimsy paper version from the library.
The older I get, the more I realize I do not need a lot of things. I’ve been a quest to purge things for the past few years. My divorce, the loss of my parents and a host of other life-changing events led me to remember, more so than usual, that things weigh me down. Give me less things—but make them beautiful.
I may have a closet less full, but the few items in it will be divine.
I may have just a couple of huge, gorgeous blooms in my vase, but they beat a bevy of grocery store carnations any day.
And I may have to pinch pennies elsewhere to drink the coffee I so love, but it is a distinctively different experience than settling for sludge.
I do not want to become attached to things, but those things I allow into my space should bring me joy. That, at least, I deserve.
So do you.
I have a friend who has a bottle of very nice champagne in her refrigerator that will probably never be opened. She has saved it for years, saying it will be for a “special occasion.” Given the years and special occasions that have passed, I am not sure she will ever find one that merits the pop of that cork.
I have another friend who takes her sweet self to a very expensive, luxurious inn once per year. She dons the fluffy white robe, partakes of a bevy of spa treatments, has a fantastic dinner and catches up on her reading. It is just one weekend out of the year, but it is a tradition for her—a promise to herself that she keeps.
My takeaway? Pop the damn cork. Now. Because it is Monday. Because your son passed driver’s education without denting your car. Because your best friend got engaged.
And for Pete’s sake, if you are going to buy a calendar, make it the $20 version. With apologies to my mother, of course.
But not to yourself.
You are more than worth it.