Friday, February 03, 2017

"300 small pleasures"

Something I remember reading somewhere - it might have been in one of Jane Brocket's books - about the idea of having some large number of small pleasures (300 sticks in my mind) vs. one big pleasure, and which was more life-enhancing.

I suppose people are different, and for some, they want to scrimp and save and live super-frugally just so they can blow it all on one big blow-out vacation, or a sportscar, or some other big thing.

Me, I'm totally different. I will go for the small pleasures every time - I would rather spend, say, $1000 on a bunch of vintage ponies, and some books, and some new lipsticks, and some nice food, and new pajamas and any other manner of cute, fun, nice small things, rather than buying one big electronic gadget or spending it on a cruise.

That's why I don't have a smartphone or whatever the modernest incarnation of the old stereo systems of my youth is or a Coach bag or a brand-new car. I'd rather dribble that money out, a little each week, but have a fairly steady stream of little things that make me happy, whether that's a lunch out at the nearby good barbecue joint or the My Little Pony comics as they come out or blindbag toys or the occasional t-shirt.

I remember thinking about it over break, on the day when I drove out to the Fresh Market - and thinking about the related thing, of "are you willing to pay a higher price for a more aesthetically-pleasing experience?" And I admit it, and I know this comes from a position of privilege, but: yes, I would. I would pay more for a nicer grocery-shopping experience rather than paying rock-bottom prices somewhere like the wal-mart* but have to walk around in a large, echoey, over-lit store with everything kind of harsh and sad. I'd rather shop somewhere nice (the Fresh Market being the example for me - they play quiet classical music on their PA instead of ads, their lighting is more muted and nice, the store seems to be set up not to allow noise to echo and bounce of the walls. And yeah, there's probably a difference in the clientele than the stressed-out folks shopping the wal-mart). That's because, in my mind, you have to grocery shop every darn week of your life, but something like, say, a cruise - which presumably you'd shop at the wal-mart in order to save up money to go on - you're there for a week and then it's over. And yes, you have the memories, but I also think of that rather depressing episode of The Simpsons where they went on the cruise and never wanted it to end because their day-to-day lives were so miserable and the cruise was so nice. I'd rather have the little nice experience on a weekly basis than one week of big nice experience and a less-enjoyable existence the rest of the time.

(*But actually, the wal-mart is no longer rock-bottom: I have read that Aldi is cheaper (and perhaps in some ways nicer) and that lots of people in our current economy consider wal-mart a luxury but do most of their shopping at the Dollar Stores. And if wal-mart is a luxury, that's just how bad the economy is for some people....)

So anyway: regular little pleasures are better for me, more life-sustaining, than waiting for one really big one. Which is why I'm going to the Ulta tomorrow to look to see if they have any cool lipsticks I might want to wear, or nail polish I want, or some kind of nice hand lotion. And why I might just indulge in a blind-bag toy or two from either the Books A Million or the Five Below. And why I'm going to the natural-foods store for some fancy foods and also the special mint soap I like. I'd rather have nice soap every day in the shower than use lousy soap and maybe get to go to Branson once a year or something like that. I suppose that is part of my fundamentally being a homebody. But part of life is finding out what makes you happy**, and doing that when possible.

(** standard disclaimer: without harming other people and without bankrupting yourself)

No comments: