I’m Learning to Be OK With Buying Myself Nice Things Once in a While
I grew up poor. How poor? Our home didn't have air conditioning or a refrigerator (we kept the few cold items we bought in a cooler with ice from my aunt's house), and our "house" (if you want to be generous) was full of holes and missing a good part of the floor.
I could write a mile-long paper on why we were in that situation, but what I'm getting at is that growing up that way left me extremely paranoid and with a severe case of imposter syndrome. I'm at a point in my life where I'm making a halfway decent wage - at least enough to be able to live in a clean, safe, fairly nice place and take care of my mom.
That said, I'm still paranoid about money. Every day I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are things I'd love to do, like take a vacation or buy a new mattress, but my brain won't stop telling me that the moment I put down a good chunk of change on anything nice for myself, I'll lose my job or get sick and my entire life will collapse.
If it's not money being spent on a bill, clothes, or food, it's money down the drain, right?
So, I found myself conflicted about buying something last week.
One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The Venture Bros. I love the animation, the humor, the quirky characters, and the oddly compelling storytelling.
A fellow fan told me about a great book about the art and creative process behind the show with extensive interviews with the show's creators and producers. I love that kind of stuff, and since I love books anyway, I figured I'd see how much a nice copy of this particular book would cost me.
It was almost $40.
My first instinct was to forget about it, but then I thought...you know, I've worked hard lately. I stay well past quittin' time most nights for no extra pay because I want to make sure I've done right by my boss and colleagues. I help out on weekends because it helps others be able to spend time with their families, and I take care of my mom.
I know it seems like I'm bragging on myself, and I promise I'm not. I know whoever's reading this probably works just as hard or even harder and sacrifices a lot as well.
What I'm getting at is that it's ok to be selfish once in a while and to say to yourself, "You know, I deserve a little something nice."
Trust me, it was extremely difficult for me to allow myself to think that way. It's still not something I'm entirely comfortable with, but I put that book in my cart and made my order, and when it arrived in the mail I didn't feel a shred of guilt.
I even enjoyed that new book smell. I usually buy from used book stores, and old book smell is wonderful, but new book smell was a nice treat.
Look, I'm not saying go on a crazy spending spree or do anything rash, but if you're like me and have a habit of feeling like you don't really deserve anything or that life will fall apart if you spend a few extra dollars on something you're passionate about, my advice is to splurge just a little.
Have a nice steak dinner or get a massage.
Treat yo self! You've earned it.