Sometimes in this world it seems like everything has got to go large to mean something. Status car, status job, status house, status body. Go big, go taut, go tan.
Blow up Instagram with postcard pictures, staged to engender envy, aspiration and avarice. It sometimes feels like the social media world revolves around statements of ‘Here’s mine, how does yours compare?’.
We could be talking anything here – thighs, the most sparkling of seas, that rare 1970s Star Wars collectible that broke the bank on eBay.
It can be quite wearying, this perpetual beauty parade. After all, what is beauty? My definition will be different to that of the person sitting next to me on public transport. I like the cold of the northern seashore far more than the lure of a tropical paradise. The rain more than the sun. My ancient record deck over a high powered speaker system.
You get the gist. Cars, holidays, clothes, geek collectibles can all have a hefty price tag. And it’s nice if you can afford it, and it is what you really want and find pleasure in. Taking pride in your achievements, the treats that you’ve worked for and appearance is generally a good thing – so long as the need for ever greater rewards doesn’t become overwhelming, and you begin to judge yourself against an ever escalating scale of need.
What happens if you are below an income bracket that facilitates the Instagram lifestyle of your peers? Or if you feel beaten down by a lack of prospects or opportunity? I have gotten that way myself recently. Hiding offline, curtains closed. Biting my fingers into ribbons as I wonder what I’m doing with my life.
I found myself counting up the change in my copper jar. In there I found a sum just short of twenty pounds. I decided to use that small change to treat myself to a small pleasure.
It turned up the next morning. A vinyl pressing of the Sisters of Mercy’s Floodland album. The one vinyl album I always wanted to own as a teenager. Just looking at it gives me joy. And I have five pounds left over from my copper pot to put towards the next thing on the small pleasures list on a future blue day.
There’s a place in this world to appreciate the little things. To value the small change. I’m wondering what yours would be. What gift could you buy yourself for under £20 that would bring longer term cheer?
I don’t expect everyone to join me in dancing in delight to old goth bands. It could be a special edition Blu-ray of your favourite film, it could be a single issue comic book that you’ve always wanted to hold in your hands. It could be an experience – an unplanned trip to the cinema or time out in a coffee shop with cake and an old friend.
Just something tangible that brings a spark of light to the grey. It could even be a gift to yourself that has no physical cost at all – like taking time out for a walk to the beach or round the park to watch the sunset. Just one small thing, brought to you with small change. Savour it. Value it.
Stay well. Comments on small pleasures are welcome below, or indeed on anything else you’d like to natter about today. And thanks as always for reading.