Kaleidoscope 24/40: Two sides of luxury

Kaleidoscope 24/40: Two sides of luxury
Ah, the simple luxury of finding a spaghetti sauce you really love...

America is the land of MORE. BIGGER. BETTER.

More space, more choices, more stuff.

Americans collectively fill 23 million storage units — a number that is growing rapidly, even though the average house is twice the size of a home in 1960... with 1.2 less inhabitants per house.

It's insanity. Yet almost everyone — American or not — find themselves pulled into this cultural gravity — always wanting more.

Which begs me to ask the unfortunately unintuitive question:

Is More or Less the Luxury?

More can be the ultimate luxury. 

I'm a feminist, and believe that all humans should have a whole array of choices for their lives.

My brother loves his giant new addition because it offers them more flexibility to entertain guests (and I so appreciate being entertained!).

There's also the spaghetti sauce insight: there is no such thing as the one best spaghetti sauce, rather there is a best spaghetti sauce for any number of tastes. (And I think having a spaghetti sauce you love is a beautiful little luxury! Clearly the man in DALL-E's imagination agrees!)

But, more choice does not always equal more satisfaction.

I remember coming back to the states from an extended stay in rural Tonga, where I went for months without seeing a store, let alone buying anything.

Upon return, I needed toothpaste. I vividly recall standing in the store feeling overwhelmed by the choice before me, thinking how the hell am I supposed to know which one to buy? 

Truth is, although I'm better at tuning it out now, I still feel that overwhelm every time I visit a supermarket — 50 spaghetti sauce options means I can have exactly what I want... but I also have to decide which one I want. And that is effort.

Multiply that by 100,000 for big life decisions.

And here's the real bad news: making overwhelming decisions is not only momentarily uncomfortable but also dissatisfying because of lingering doubt that we made the correct decision. 

Any downside can be perceived as a fault in choice and, therefore, a fault in ourselves and our choices.

Less can be the ultimate luxury.

Releasing yourself from the burden of more can feel amazing. One of my favorite things to do at a high end bar is to have the bartender choose for me.

I've found the best way to do this attain this kind of luxury is to set up a system so that there are no bad decisions.

Sometimes, like with the bartender, I outsource to a pro and merrily relinquish control.

When I know my favorite kind of spaghetti sauce, I don't look at others. When I'm buying on price point, I look at unit cost and don't over think it.

I share a small closet but it's not bursting at the seams like most people I know. I have a highly edited wardrobe, built over years, and I genuinely love everything in it. There are no bad choices, intentionally.

As I have been working through Operation Fresh Start, one of my most common questions has been — is this a burden or a luxury?

The answers are intensely personal and idiosyncratic.

Two waffle irons? ULTIMATE LUXURY. (Bubble & Belgian)

Two kinds of face wash? Burden. Simplify.

Which is why I love this question, especially in face of all our societal pressure for more, more, more.

What feels like luxury to you?

Until Tomorrow,

PS — Less cookies? Yep, that's a luxury (for me).