The question I pose today is, do you take the time everyday to create a bit of luxury in your life? Back in 1995, I happen to be watching the Oprah show. Well, I didn’t happen to watch it. I regularly watched Oprah. There, I said it and I’m proud of it. Anyway, Oprah’s topic for the day was how to bring everyday luxury to your life on a minuscule budget. I was all eyes and ears! I’m always up living better on a budget.
Oprah had several special guests on who were famous in the field of catering to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. They offered many tips on how one could bring a little bit of lavishness to everyday life. Oprah then shared something that has stuck with me to this day. Oprah said that when she was a young reporter trying to make it in the news business, she would sometimes buy fresh flowers to cheer up her mediocre apartment. However, buying fresh flowers weekly was rather expensive. Oprah’s resolve was to fill a pretty bowl with fresh fruit and display it in her apartment. Fruit was cheaper and it gave the same feeling of freshness and beauty. She said that on really hard days when she was feeling discouraged or “less than” in a world that seemed to beat her down, just looking at a fresh bowl of fruit reminded her that she deserved to have something beautiful and rewarding in her life. It was a simple luxury that made her feel human.
That concept really hit a chord with me. You see, I had just moved back to the Bay Area to help my mother care for my father who had suffered a massive stroke. The stoke left him unable to speak and paralyzed on the right side of his body. Before his death a year later, there were so many stressful and sad moment for us. There were days when I didn’t know how I was going to get us all through this ordeal. There were days when I felt “less than” and not part of the real world. Money was extremely tight and it was a constant struggle to stay afloat.
That moment when Oprah said that simple everyday luxuries make us feel human…the moment she remind me that we deserve something special and beautiful in our lives…it was that moment I decided to create a simple luxury for myself. Something that would be my private escape form a sometimes crazy world. I though back to times in my life where something so simple made me feel special–something that didn’t, in actuality cost much money, but made me feel like a million bucks. And then it hit me…showering at a hotel.
Now growing up we never stayed at a hotel. We could only afford a motel or inn. Nonetheless, I remember being fascinated with the stacks of white towels. Motel towels always seems to be in abundance. They were folded nicely and always smell crisp and fresh. It seemed like magic when I would leave my dirty towels on the floor and, sometime while we were out sightseeing, all fresh towels, neatly stacked and folded, were in put in their place. I remember distinctly always taking a fresh towel for a shower. A very different experience than what I was used to at home. First, our towels weren’t white. They were various colors and various stages of age. Some towels were fraying at the edge. My mom would cut the stray threads off so they didn’t look so bad, but they still kinda looked bad. We did have one set of nice towels, but those were for company. God forbid we should use those!
So it was easy for me to come to create my everyday luxury. I would buy all white towels, in abundance, display them in an orderly, organized manner, and use a fresh towel for every shower. To this day, this is my ritual, my personal daily luxury regime. I can’t tell you how many times a fresh white towel after a hot shower has been the simple cure for all. Yes, maybe I have to do more laundry than normal, but it’s a small price to pay for that moment when I grab that crisp, clean white towel and I feel all anew.
My stack of white towels has come to mean more than just personal daily luxury. It’s come to represent taking care of myself; taking the time to step back and be thankful for all the blessings in my life. It’s so very easy to get caught up in the rat race. It’s easy to forget that we need to celebrate the now and be proactive in creating moments in our lives where we treat ourselves well. Treating ourselves well and creating personal luxury is never about spending money. It’s about…and I’ve said this before…validation.
So I pose the question again. Do you take the time everyday to create a bit of luxury in your life? If the answer is no, I suggest you take the time to discover that special thing that causes you to connect to your humanity and make you feel a little bit special everyday. By the way, there’s a wonderful side effect to reminding yourself of your specialness…you tend to remind other’s of their own specialness…and it’s that one of the best things about being human after all.