Imagine for a second that you grew up with little to nothing.
Your childhood consisted of playing with toys that have been passed down for decades.
You and your family live in a small bedroom that was meant for one but instead holds five.
Eating out is a rare occurrence or it just never happens.
Every meal is barebones and is just enough to keep you alive with the essentials but you go to bed hungry more often than not.
Now let’s move along for a bit and flash-forward a couple decades.
Your family is better off now.
Hand-me-downs are a thing of the past and everything in your house is brand new. Nice television (four of them, in fact). Everyone has the latest and greatest smartphone.
Your parents are living more comfortably and you’ve even bought them a nice home of their own to thank them for caring for you.
You dine in the best restaurants several times a week, rarely eating at home.
You no longer have to budget carefully for large purchases. The purse strings are loose.
And you wonder how you ever got by with anything less, even though you grew up on the opposite side of the wealth & comfort spectrum.
I’m certainly not rich by any means. I don’t live in a large house or buy the latest and greatest with any sort of frequency.
But now that I’m making decent money, I find myself splurging on what I used to consider unimportant in my life.
I spent two weeks in Japan and found myself booking the nicer hotels and refusing to stay in more affordable hostels because I assumed they wouldn’t be comfortable.
When I was in Kobe, I nearly spent a significant sum on the world-famous Kobe beef (I instead opted for the much more affordable Brazilian BBQ experience).
And when I arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, I spent a week looking at several different apartments with a strict criteria, eliminating rooms for simple reasons like the building lacking an elevator.
There are some valid reasons as to why I had to be so selective with my semi-long-term stay (consistent wifi is needed to run my business) but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t because I’ve grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle of luxury.
The higher up you go on the list of luxuries you demand, the more difficult it is to accept anything less.
The funny thing is, the luxuries rarely improve your life in any tangible way. I don’t feel happier now that I’m eating at nicer places nor do I sleep better because I’m in a larger room.
Yet, I can’t remove myself from these things. I’ve grown used to them and even though I know there’s no real “point” in indulging, I still do.
You definitely should be enjoying yourself–if that means splurging on occasion, so be it–but know that you’re limiting yourself if you demand a certain level of luxury everywhere you go.
Know what matters to you. Know what you can and can’t live without, because luxury has a point of no return.
P.S. I highly recommend you visit my good friend Joshua’s website, Becoming Minimalist, if you haven’t already. He knows better than most about what it means to have a full and purposeful life with less.