On the cost of joy….

Indulgence is kind of a funny thing, isn’t it? It seems to have such hedonistic connotations associated with it. When I think of indulgence, I often think of over-spending or over-eating…things like that. I wonder, though, if that’s just my childish view of indulgence seeping into my adult mind.
When I was a kid, there was nothing better than indulging in a giant bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup. I could really be okay with eating a tub of ice cream every now and then. The same went for hot dogs cooked over a campfire. I once at something like five hot dogs then ran around playing tag for an hour followed by several s’mores. The end result was nothing short of digestive pyrotechnics, the likes of which kept me from eating another hot dog until I was well into my 20s.
As a teenager, I loved indulging in clothing. I never really had anything super expensive (save my cheerleading uniform), but I loved buying clothes. At some point, and I really have no idea why, I owned a Hanson t-shirt. WTF? Mostly, I just loved clothes. I had yet to discover my underlying passion for shoes.
In my early 20s, indulgence became wildly hedonistic. I drank and ate and danced in extreme ways. I indulged in much of the “underworld” of Denver (if you can even call it that…Denver is a pretty tame city, as far as that goes, but what did I know?). I did things I’m not proud of, but man, did it feel good at the time. It was indulgent on so many levels.
But as I get older, as each year passes, my ideas of indulgence are changing…markedly. I still love to eat a good meal, but I’d rather enjoy it, savor it, take it slowly. Clothes are still something I enjoy, but I’d much rather save for five years for a great pair of heels than spend $800 over five years on 40 pairs of shoes that’ll crap out in a year.
So what defines indulgence for me now? Being able to pay someone else to clean my house. Taking an afternoon nap during a football game. Long, hot showers after work for no reason other than that I felt like taking a shower. Spending an evening with my best friends laughing and playing games. Reading a book, cover to cover, in one day…things that cost me nothing, but that pay back in dividends the likes of which Wall Street will never see.
It seems that the older I get the more intentional, even calculating, I become with my indulgences. As a grown-up, I understand and appreciate money in ways I couldn’t have when I was younger. I don’t have to spend money to indulge (a lesson I wish I’d have learned about 15 years ago)…indulgence is so much more than that. At this juncture, it’s about finding peace and laughter, even joy, in whatever I see, whatever I do, wherever I go.
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