Anyone who knows me would probably say I am a fairly frugal person. This is especially true when it comes to me. I am more than happy to spend on my family and friends (ask my husband with received a top of the line guitar as a birthday present). For me, it’s a little more complicated. I grew up with parents who would take my sister and I out to McDonald’s and would never order anything for themselves. Sharing was mightily encouraged and since we were a family of very modest means, with the exception of Christmas, we didn’t necessarily splurge on unnecessary items.
I’ve carried that attitude into my adult life and with the exception of ordering books from Amazon; I rarely come home with things for myself. This week I was reminded of why that isn’t always such a good idea, especially since I am privileged enough to be able to indulge more often.
At my workplace annual Halloween party, I won the best costume prize (I was pumpkin pi). The prize was a goodie bag with a bunch of little treats, among them a small candle. I’m a candle fanatic. I have them all over my home but because I treat them like sacred decorative items, I actually never light them. In fact, I currently have an entire candle setup in my porch that features the very first set of candles I bought shortly after moving in with my now husband almost ten years ago.
Even though I love the look and scent of burning candles, I rarely allow myself the pleasure. I will routinely buy candles as a hostess gift or to give my friends for the holidays but I’m still rocking my almost ten year old candles as a source of pride. So when I brought home the small vanilla and apple Glade candle earlier this week, I actually did something fairly uncharacteristic and lit it.
It’s now been five days, and every single night after I get home I dutifully light it, relishing in this simple act. Seeing the small flame fluttering in the corner just brings a smile to my face, and warmth to my heart. It’s a simple candle but it has lifted my spirits tremendously. I can’t help but reflect on how many nights I could have been enjoying the fragrant aroma of a Hawaiian breeze, or a honeysuckle-filled meadow.
Without really meaning to, I have been denying myself a source of pleasure that does not require a whole lot of effort to achieve. It’s rather sad actually that sometimes I take pride in my self-imposed austerity measures. It really has me wondering what other things would bring me happiness without necessarily breaking the bank that I’m currently denying myself.
This entire experience may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things but happiness is not just about the big things. Every single positive action adds up to a life well-lived something that we all want more of each and every day. Next time I’m pondering whether to splurge on a pair of shoes I couldn’t possibly need or a Hershey’s chocolate bar at the grocery store, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and allow myself to live in the moment. Small indulgences are just another phrase for fun size happiness, something we could all use more of.