This morning, I was drinking some orange juice that I had picked up at Shoppers Drug Mart when I realized that it tasted nothing like the freshly squeezed organic orange juice that I have taken to buying at Farm Boy.
And every now and again, I eat some not-so-quality chocolate and realize its inferiority compared to the exquisite and delicious chocolate that I like to buy at Stubbe Chocolates here in Ottawa.
This is not about decadence or extravagance, but about quality and appreciation.
I remember reading a personal finance book when I was a teenager that discussed how foregoing $5 daily lattes (and similar “unnecessary” routine expenses) could lead to “building wealth” or “finishing rich.”
That deprival mindset did not strike me as the key to abundance or happiness.
Plus, I had in mind the case of a family friend who had deferred so much satisfaction until her eventual retirement only to die suddenly in her mid-50s.
It is a paradox that “wasting money” on quality goods and experiences can be like “wasting time” in true leisure.
A healthy and responsible enjoyment of the goods of life can actually curb mindless acquisitiveness without purpose.
Once I was in Cologne for only one night. My friend and I decided to stay at a hostel and we noticed that, for a couple Euros more, we could choose the room with the cathedral view, and so we did.
Years later, I still think about that and I find that there are countless ways to “choose the room with the cathedral view” in daily life.
Such decisions in favour of what is better, richer, deeper, more interesting, more delicious, more excellent, etc., etc. need not be very expensive, though there is always some cost.
For example, it “costs” more to set the table elegantly than not do so.
By relishing the experiences that make life rich and dignified along the way, we practice and refine our judgment as to what is valuable and worthwhile after all.