True Luxury: A forgotten concept

Having a sense of the luxurious is so important in life, I think. These days, when one can order almost anything on line with one click of a finger, the concept of the longed-for, planned-for, saved-up-for luxury is scorned by all too many of us.

But – and it is a very real ‘but’, not just a bitter quibble! – we stand the risk of losing something of inestimable value.

If everything is easy to get hold of, nothing is special or valuable any longer. If we can afford that holiday in Crete, or Rome, or Egypt, without really thinking, then something in our souls has become, or is in danger of becoming, sated, satiated – and our definition of luxury becomes ever-more expensive and rare.

I hear people all around me lamenting their lack of money – and then, casually in the next breath, saying, ‘Where are you going on holiday? We’re off to Greece for a month!’

When I was growing up in the sixties and early seventies, any kind of holiday was a wonderful luxury. We went to stay with my paternal grandparents in Budleigh Salterton each summer – and it was fabulous. Holidays abroad were a luxury almost unheard of back then.

For me, it is vital that I keep the sense of childlike excitement and joy with which I was so generously endowed as a little girl. It is vital that I do not see all abundance money can buy as my right. And part of this philosophy is keeping a strong sense of life’s luxuries.

At present, money is tight. But I have enough for what I need. At present, having my wilting orange locks redyed is the next luxury I am going to dream about and look forward to immensely. I shall have the pleasure of saving up the dosh I need and then, when I have enough, phoning the hairdresser and making an appointment. I shall appreciate it all the more because it is a treat, a luxury, something out of the ordinary!

I do not need gems, or yachts, or designer clothes! Luxury can be found in a single flower, the scent of a candle, the smile of a friend, the wind waving the washing on a warm sunny day.

I know that the dictionary definition of ‘luxury’ deals with expensive goods and the spending of significant sums of money. But I often feel that those able to indulge themselves thusly very quickly need more and more luxurious possessions in order to gain even the most fleeting high.

A luxury is not an entitlement. It is a gift, a symbol of wealth. All too often, it is part of an unspoken bartering system. What a shame it is so rarely a symbol of the wealth of the spirit, of love, of the desire to give, share, make another’s eyes and soul light up.

Surely, in its purest state, luxury is a quality of the mind and heart, not the wallet!



19 thoughts on “True Luxury: A forgotten concept

  1. Julie

    A coincidence? I happen to be reading a book called ‘ The 12-Foot Teepee’ by Marilyn Armstrong. For her, the teepee is both a luxury and a symbol of her life. An excellent book which goes to the core of what is truly essential in life and how we can find meaning in our choices, like buying a teepee.

    And her style of writing is in turn humorous and elegiac, her attitude to life frank and funny, quite similar to yours I think, Ali!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you I could not agree with you more. I believe the most important things are not things. My husband and I made a decision that we would retire early and we changed our way of life to make it happen. If more people would be happy with less they would be happier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely agree with you. Too much of life is driven by a sense of entitlement, whether personal or national. It is so sad. This world offers huge abundance – and recognising this fact frees us from acquisitiveness, I think. I took early retirement from teaching four years ago – and am now, post divorce, trimming my life’s sails to fit the new ocean and slightly changed wind pattern.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful take on luxury. Indeed, sometimes the best luxuries CANNOT be purchased with money, because they are experiences rather than things. I didn’t think about the flower example, but I can agree with a similar example: a sunset walk on the beach with a person/people who are meaningful to you.

    I especially liked your comment about “We don’t have enough money” immediately followed by “Off to Greece for a month.” That reminds me of an old Jewish adage: “Who is rich? [She or] he who is content with [their] portion.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I could not agree more with your sentiments, I feel exactly the same way and offer it as an attempt at definition of the word luxury.
    I also share the hair dresser excitement, I am, alas, orange haired at the moment (at least the children I see at the street think it is my natural color!) and am looking forward to being coral red soon.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s