#rememberreminder: Splurge Every Once in a While
In my hands, I hold four placemats. They are simple, but unlike the ones I have at home, they are circular instead of rectangular—exactly the kind I’ve wanted. My kitchen table isn’t that large, so my current placemats overlap each other when I set them out—and it’s enough of an overlap that it drives me just a little bit crazy.
So here I stand, holding $8 worth of fabric that has the potential to make me a little bit happier: I’ve convinced myself that I have enough stress in my day to be annoyed by my placemats anymore, so I’ve decided to splurge a little bit and buy new ones.
But as I finger the light gray fabric, I start hearing that little voice in my head, the one that always does such a good job changing my mind: You really don’t need those, Corey…
Out of the corner of my eye, I see my daughter Zoey dancing up and down the aisle as she sings herself a made-up song. Seeing her reminds me of why we’re here in the first place: Zoey loves to bake, and I’m surprising her with a new hand mixer.
I put back the placemats as I agree with that little voice, pick up Zoey’s hand, and point ourselves in the direction of the appliances. Because splurging on her is something I never second guess.
* * *
Later, as I set the table for dinner with my silly overlapping placemats, I think back to my earlier decision to not buy new ones, and I wonder: When did spending $8 on something I want become such tough decision?
As a child, it seemed so easy to splurge. In fact, at times, it even seemed encouraged: there would be the dollar to get ice cream from the ice cream truck, or the Little Debbie in your lunchbox. There would be the summer weekends you slept in until noon, or the days where you didn’t have to do anything other than play or ride your bike or lay by the pool. As children, we were encouraged to savor the little things in life, the things that brought us joy. And the best part of all? We never felt guilty.
But then…. well, then we grow up. And when we grow up, and the time and money needed to splurge become further and further out of reach.
* * *
As for me, I’ve always had a hard time splurging on myself, and now that I’m single and have to keep a closer eye on my time and my money, I do it even less. And even when I do think of splurging—even just a little bit—I talk myself out of it: I buy the clothes, only to end up returning them. I pick up the book in book store, only to place it back on the shelf (after smelling its new pages, of course). I put the fancy cheese in the cart, only to switch it out with a more reasonably priced substitute.
I hold the placemats in my hands, only to decide that Zoey’s splurge is far more important.
If I thought about it, I’m sure I could come up with things I’d splurge on for myself: I could buy a new pair of earrings to replace the ones that recently broke. I could splurge for the bouquet of flowers I walked past at grocery store the other day, the ones that were so colorful they made me smile. I could take myself to a movie I want to see, the one that I know would be so much better in a theater than watching it a few months down the road on my TV. There are even probably a few things that I might “splurge” on that don’t cost a thing: I could sleep in past 5:30 on a Saturday. I could read a book instead of staring at my computer and working late into the night after I tuck Zoey in bed. I could head to the pool and get some sunshine on a Sunday when I am by myself instead of running errands all day.
I could, I could, I could… I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t.
* * *
We are cleaning up after dinner, and for the second time in one day, I see Zoey out of the corner of my eye. But this time, I don’t find her singing and dancing: this time she is simply watching me.
Zoey leaves the kitchen, and when she comes back, she is carrying her white ceramic unicorn piggy bank in her hands. It is heavy with coins, and she struggles as she hoists it up and sets it on the table in front of me.
I don’t say anything but I know my face shows confusion as I look from the unicorn back to her sweet face.
“We can go back to the store tonight,” she says, pointing to the miniature mystical creature. “I don’t know how much money is in there, but I think it should be enough.”
“Enough for what, peanut?” I ask, still confused.
“Those placemats you were looking at.”
Sometimes all it takes is a moment like this to make everything come into focus. Though Zoey does an amazing job taking care of me, her unselfish gesture reminds me that every once in a while, I need to take care of myself, too. And perhaps taking care of myself means splurging a little bit more often, and more importantly, not feeling guilty when I do so. (It also reminds me that, though I may forget sometimes, Zoey is always watching me, paying attention, modeling her own behavior after mine).
“Thank you, sweet pea,” I say as I kiss the top of her head. “But that money is all yours. Mommy can buy the placemats herself.”
I pause, thinking for a minute before I continue. “And you know what? I will get some new ones. But not tonight, because I’ve got something much, much better in mind.”
Our night goes a little something like this: I leave the dishes in the sink. Zoey and I scoop ourselves big bowls of the ice cream we made earlier and head into the living room. The combination of the cold dessert and air conditioning makes us chilly, so we pull out a blanket and curl up next to one another on the couch. And although I have a million other things I could and should be doing, we watch The Parent Trap as we savor the sweetness—both real and virtual—that surrounds us. And later, when I open my eyes in the middle of the night to see we have both fallen asleep, I smile. Our evening has felt like a total splurge, and I don’t feel one ounce of guilt.
This, I think as I pull Zoey closer. Who needs placemats when I have this?
So remember to splurge every once in a while. It’ll probably do you some good.
How about you? Do you have a hard time splurging on yourself? If you could splurge on yourself, what would you buy or eat or spend time doing?
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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.