...or why I bought coffee today.
This summer, living alone, I have been trying hard to live with less. For the most part, I am enjoying this practice with simplicity. Trying to purchase less. Trying to drive less. Trying to use less electricity and water. Trying to eat more from the garden.
I like the wording of that last sentence better. We humans seem to respond so much better to positives than negatives. It's easier to start a new habit than to stop an old one (even if the new replaces the old). I realized that while many aspects of living with simplicity feel like more to me, such as the happiness I get from gathering sun-dried clothes off the laundry line or picking salad and blueberries from the yard for dinner, some aspects feel like the annoying pinch of a tight shoe.
Can you guess where I'm going with this? Not buying coffee. I ran out sometime in late June, and was initially determined not to buy more because the cupboard was full of green and black tea. Have I mentioned before how much I love coffee? With skim milk, iced, hot and black, espresso with a sugar cube "canard"...I generally don't have more than 1-2 cups a day, but the enjoyment I get from it is large.
What I realized today was that by denying myself something I really want, I was creating a poor-me mentality, leading to a feeling of poverty and not abundance. I don't want to practice self-denial just for the sake of it, and my financial situation does permit the purchase of little luxuries such as coffee. Each weekend morning that I woke up and couldn't have a freshly ground cup, I felt grumpy and it took me a while to get out my funk (tea, though lovely, was just not doing the trick). I also found myself wanting to snack more, looking for some other source of gratification to replace what I really wanted--coffee!
Thankfully, this afternoon I realized the error of my ways. I am extremely fortunate to not be in a financial state of true need, but want to live simply to focus my time and energy on the parts of life that are most important to me. Living simply is about living with just enough. What enough is will vary tremendously with individual situations, tastes, and temperaments. For me, a pound of coffee a month creates a huge happiness boost--a great investment for a small financial outlay.
I'm already looking forward to the smell of those organic locally-roasted on-sale dark French Roast beans when I grind them tomorrow morning, and to wandering the garden to check the size of the growing zucchini with cup in hand. It's the small pleasures that count.
So how about you? What are the little luxuries that bring you large enjoyment?
Maybe it's something you can purchase, like chocolate, or maybe something nonmaterial...an uninterrupted hour in the tub with a novel, for parents of young children, for example...or storing a canoe for trips to the lake.