It is amazing how quickly things can work out when you create an intention. Shortly after challenging myself to reverse the Diderot Effect in my personal life a friend came over to visit. Her granddaughter was moving in with her; did I happen to have any old children’s movies that I would consider selling on the cheap?
I pulled out my binders to examine my DVD collection. My Katie had been quite fond of Barbie movies and the like; I had built up quite the collection over her childhood. She selected several of them along with an assortment of other movies that she thought she would enjoy personally and we sat down to negotiate.
She left with a tidy stack of movies fifty dollars later.
I was fifty dollars richer; what should I do with the money? I thought about investing it but then remembered my challenge. I’d just written about how I would like to find some way to treat myself that wouldn’t hurt my budget; in a stroke of sheer luck, I now had fifty dollars that hadn’t been accounted for.
What could I buy for fifty dollars that I would never allow myself to normally purchase? Was there something that I wanted that wasn’t functionally necessary but that I dreamed of owning just the same?
I drew a blank. I’d become so conditioned to living cheap that I could not think of a single thing so I took the question to my daughter.
“What about that guestbook you’ve been admiring at Biancke’s for years?” she suggested. “Every time we go in there you flip through the pages and drool over it; I can’t count how many times I’ve heard you say that it would make the perfect journal.”
An image of the book immediately popped in my head. A large, well-bound book, it features numbered, lined pages that I had admired for decades. The restaurant had encouraged guests to sign in on every visit since I was a teenager and they had used the exact same style for as long as I could remember.
I had even asked where they bought their replacements once. I’d priced it and immediately choked at the cost.
It was far too much to spend on the luxury of journaling.
But now? Now I wanted something completely decadent. I wanted to allow myself a luxury so outrageous that it bordered on ridiculous.
And I wanted to do it on a fifty dollar budget.
Convinced that I’d never be able to afford it, I allowed the kid to persuade me to walk down to the restaurant for a closer examination. I was certain that it was out of my league but what would it hurt to look? If anything, I would find that book above my station and treat myself to a Moleskine.
I’ve never allowed myself to indulge in a Moleskine.
We braved the curious looks from the workers as we examined the heavy tome. Armed with the brand and model, we headed home to price one.
Ouch! Just as I anticipated, the book was almost $100.
“Maybe I should buy a cheap washer instead,” I suggested as I went to close out the tab.
“You’re always doing that!” Katie snapped. “You’ve wanted that thing for years–don’t tell me you haven’t! Buy something nice for yourself for a change! You’ve bitched about how thin the paper was in composition notebooks for ages. You’ve bitched about how you dislike journaling on the computer and now you’ve got fifty bucks that you can use to fix the problem. Let’s see what we can find!”
She shoved me out of the chair and hijacked the computer. Flipping over to the purchasing options, she discovered that Amazon had some for sale minus their original packaging.
The price was $53 after tax.
I allowed myself to buy that book. I can’t believe I did it, to be honest. I allowed myself to purchase something completely decadent and amazingly expensive, simply because I wanted it.
But oh my, it is absolutely beautiful.
It is beautiful. It is decadent. It is a completely selfish luxury. It is 512 pages of journaling bliss and I can’t believe the fact that it is actually mine.
It is the first real extravagance I’ve allowed myself for longer than I can remember.
I’ll have to conserve the pages. It cost too much to treat it lightly but in exchange, every time I use it I will be reminded of the fact that it’s okay to have nice things if you can afford them. It’s okay to treat myself on occasion.
It’s okay to want to improve my life.
Have you ever treated yourself to a completely ridiculous luxury? Please share your stories in the comments below. I need to christen this journal before I lose my nerve and send it back.