This post is part of ChicagoNow's Blogapalooza, in which we are given one hour to write and publish a post on a given topic. Tonight's assignment: defend your guilty pleasure(s).
Admittedly, I have a lot of guilty pleasures. That fact makes me feel, well, guilty. I've decided to defend three of them on all different levels of the spectrum in terms of guilt and cost. Funny how those are proportionate. however, will center around how they can be used as teachable moments for my tween. A stretch, perhaps, but work with me.
When I shop at Trader Joe's, the beautiful fresh flowers greet me when I enter the store. I love fresh flowers, but they feel like an extravagance, a guilty pleasure. I worry that my money is better spent elsewhere, on things that don't die.
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris, 1880
Yes, the money could be spent on something more useful, but there is value in beauty. The flowers are cheap, definitely under $10, and they make me happy. They bring life to my kitchen. I slow down and appreciate them. I hope my daughter learns that it is okay to treat yourself within reason and that life is enriched when we appreciate beauty. I want her to find pleasures that are simple and lovely, and hopefully she won't feel the guilt that I feel.
I got a car in November that has heated seats. This is the first time I've had them and I love them. Especially after this brutal winter, I cannot understate my adoration of them. I have thoughts of gratitude for the person who invented them pretty much every morning. And I feel very guilty about them. There are so many people not fortunate enough to have a car, let alone heated seats. There are so many people struggling to stay warm.
I bought the car primarily because of its safety record. I didn't set out to get heated seats. Moreover, I haven't always had them. I worked hard and saved and wisely managed my money to be able to afford the car I have. This can teach my kid that it's okay to wait to have things, and that you may appreciate items more if you haven't always had them.
There's a lot of guilt for me with a trip to Disney. I did not book the trip for a while because I was racked with guilt. For one, it's ridiculously expensive. I felt guilty about the cost and the fact that I adore it even though it feels like I'm far, far too old for it. I also feel guilt over the fact that the princesses aren't the most empowering role models for girls. I feared what my friends would say.
When people ask where we're headed on vacation, I sheepishly admit to Disney. I am simultaneously fearing their judgment and berating myself for making an impractical choice. And do you know not one person has reacted negatively to my mumbling of our destination? My friends and family are kind. They either keep their judgment to themselves, or perhaps they just understand that, for me, it really is one of the happiest places on Earth.
My daughter is strong and empowered. I wouldn't take her to Disney if I felt it was going to negatively impact her self image or determination to be an independent, self-sufficient woman. She can critically discuss the princesses, and currently she thinks boys are icky and stupid and from what I can tell she has absolutely no interest in being "saved" by one of them. So, I'm crossing that off the guilt list.
As for the rest of the issues, I don't have a lot of defense It is crazy expensive and yes, that money would probably be better off in a retirement account or as a donation to one of the bazillion deserving charities. I cannot change that fact. I'm choosing to look at it as an investment. It's an investment in my mental health, because I need a vacation and because Disney is a place where I believe it is most possible for me to disconnect from the outside world. It's an investment in my family. Time away from the routine to make memories and laugh together is important. Yes, that can be done in cheaper ways, but there is something to be said for a place that appeals to all the members of my blended family.
What are your guilty pleasures?
You can see the full collection of ChicagoNow bloggers' guilty pleasures here.
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