Achieving Authentic Luxury With Less by Robin Trimingham
In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes that authentic luxury “has nothing to do with penthouse views, designer clothes, zippy foreign sports cars, or first-class travel”. For Julia, luxury is more about the intangible aspects of experience – the time with friends, the smell of freshly baked bread, the solitude of a sunrise, than the cost of the activity.
Defining a relationship between what gives us joy and the concept of luxury, she further believes that what generates a sense of abundance is different in each of us, meaning that the key to “treating yourself” when you are on a budget is simply in truly knowing yourself. Rather than denying yourself, or trying to keep up with the neighbours, as we age it becomes increasingly important to focus on what you love most and do that as much as possible.
By this reasoning, luxury for one person might be eating fresh raspberries every day, while for another it might be a single rose blooming on the bedside table, or drinking water from a crystal glass, or holding a sleeping puppy.
The trick to achieving authentic luxury is to reinterpret what brings you joy and recreate this in your life in new ways. What you might have bought on credit once upon a time, you can now rent, share, borrow or trade.
Everything from furniture, to clothing, to technology, to bicycles, to cars, to ride sharing, to vacation accommodation can be purchased used, borrowed or traded. The books or dvds you would have used once and lined row upon row on shelves you can now read online – usually for free. The night course you would have saved for and fought rush hour traffic to get to, can now be viewed online at your convenience – even ivy league schools offer enrichment online at the end of a mouse click.
Ever notice that collections, clutter, chaos, and cleaning all start with the letter “c”? The new age retiree is downsizing, decluttering, destressing and detoxing their living space, their bodies, and their minds. They are ditching the family heirlooms, creating digital photo albums, clearing out their closets, and allowing the internet to enhance their lives in an increasingly unique number of ways.
Once in a smaller home with a streamlined set of possessions (with only items of true beauty or particularly happy memories attached to them making the cut), the new age retiree can breathe in their space when the get up in the morning. They have fewer and smaller living expenses so they can afford the odd opera ticket, or football game, or weekend in wine country. They walk more and eat better, and catch themselves wondering why they didn’t make these changes years before.
Then they smile quietly to themselves and think about how lucky they are to have such a rich life with so little effort – who new living a life of authentic luxury was so much cheaper than keeping up all their old habits.
By Robin Trimingham