Despite having a really lovely day off yesterday (I went on a field trip to the aquarium with L, and then we picked B up from school and baked & decorated sugar cookies for hours), I'm feeling really blah today.
I worked from home in the morning and then met G downtown for a lunch we'd planned & rescheduled several times over the past 2 months. I had gotten a groupon to a sushi place that was near his work, thinking we could have a (cheap) lunch date. After multiple schedule snafus, today was the ONLY day in February before the groupon expired that we were both free at lunchtime. And then I realized, after we arrived, that the coupon is only valid Sunday-Thursday. AARGH.
Anyways, the food was delicious, but I felt overstuffed afterwards. Not used to carbs for lunch and certainly not in that quantity. Working has been slow this afternoon. And the blah isn't helping. Blah makes me WANT things. Like a pretty dress. Or 30 minutes scrolling mindless fluff.
I listened to the podcast Sarah mentioned in her post about pleasure. I won't link it because, honestly, it was mostly terrible. Lots of woo woo nonsense about empowering your uterus and curing all of life's ills by avoiding the devil's wheat protein. The gist of it was that you should fill your life with (non-sexual) pleasure. I hate the use of that word because it does, in current usage, have a decidedly sexual connotation. Why not use "enjoyment" or "treat"?
Anyways, in the context of the podcast, "pleasure" referred to activities or objects that delighted one or more of your physical senses. Something that brought you back to your body, out of your head. Smelling a candle, holding & smelling & tasting a mug of your favorite tea, feeling a cozy sweater on your body, "adorning yourself" with clothes & jewelry you love, tasting your favorite chocolate, listening to music, etc... I do like this idea---why the hell fill your life with things that delight you?
I can think of some reasons. No, I don't think its "selfish" to do things for yourself, as long as they fit in the values (& budget!) of your family. The guest actually addressed this apparently common misconception, by stating that doing things that recharge your batteries makes you more able to give your family/work/etc... your energy and skills. I agree with this on a practical level (because its true) but disagree somewhat with the principle (so the only reason I'm "allowed" to use nice-smelling bath products is so I can be a better mom?)
But it seemed more than a little precious the way they described this in action. One women (a mother of a toddler) talked about how she settles down in her comfiest chair with her special soft & cozy sweater on, a candle lit, her favorite (vegan, gluten-free) snacks at the ready, to read her favorite books for 2 hours. Seriously? I mean, I consider myself lucky if I can sneak off to the bathroom to read for 15 minutes on a Saturday but even if I had the time I am positive I wouldn't make such a PRODUCTION of it all. The other one told a story about switching from the aisle seat to her most favorite cacoon-y window seat so she could take off her shoes and put on her special travel socks (!!!) and nibble her snacks while she colored in her adult coloring book. I mean, to each their own, but, really? They talked about a perfect "pleasure date" of enjoying great "farm to table" local organic vegan (did they also say artisinal? maybe) food, walking around outside and enjoying nature, and then ending with some lovely tea (again with the tea).
And then I thought of how I would apply this to MY life and hit the major snag:
I $ucking hate tea. There I said it. I don't actually hate it, actually, its fine. I just don't LOVE IT. In this podcast and every single article I've ever read directed to women about "treats" or "joy" or "pleasure" or "self care" there is much waxing rhapsodic about the wonder and delight to be found in a mug of tea. Tea is fine. I drink it. Sometimes it smells good. Its great for keeping hydrated when its freezing and I don't feel like drinking water. I get it when I have to meet someone in a coffee shop because I don't drink coffee after 9 am, but I freaking resent spending $3 for it. I buy tea and have some of my favorite kind at both home & work and I drink it a couple times a week. But I just don't get that giddy tingly JOY from tea. (yes I've tried LOTS of different kind. my sister is a tea lover and has a "tea cabinet" in her home. I've tried it all. some is good). Nor do I get it from carob chips and figs (the FUCK? the woman kept going on about her damn figs)
I get that joy from a glass of wine. A hunk of cheese. A perfect gin martini. A slice of pizza. Dark dark chocolate with something unexpected in it, like chili pepper. Those things make me giddy. They thrill my senses. Sure, I love some healthier things---raspberries make me happy, and tangy clementines spark joy. I really look forward to my salad lunch---its delicious and satisfying. But overall? The things that bring me true pleasure aren't necessarily healthy. Moreover, consuming them is in direct contradiction to my goals and will prevent me from enjoying other things that give me pleasure.
Hence the paradox. I like my clothes fitting well and being able to wear flat-front dresses without constantly worrying I look pregnant. I like not feeling overstuffed and bloated, sleeping more soundly, having more energy. I can't just indulge my pleasure at every whim or I'll be decidedly unhealthy and that brings no one pleasure.
Non-consumable pleasures? Yes, I guess I can focus on those. Listen to music (WHEN???), admire the beauty of nature, wear comfy clothes...ooh yes, I'd love a cozy chunky-knit sweater...I wonder if they are having a winter sale, ooh and I've been wanting a really nice signature necklace to wear to work. oops. Nope, can't buy shiny sparkly new things either.
So how does this actually work for real people in real life? I guess everyone really loves tea.
Now how do I convince myself that happiness is at the bottom of a mug of early grey and not a glass of Malbec?
Have you found healthy frugal ways to bring "pleasure" into your life? Do you LOVE tea?