My bathroom timeslot was from 7:08 to 7:15 every morning, Monday through Friday. I had a lot of brothers and sisters who also had tight timeslots before and after me, and they made sure I wasn’t washing or wiping a minute longer than I had to. When you grow up in a family of nine, in a three-bedroom, one-bath apartment, you live and die by rules, regulations, rations - and a shared bar of Ivory Soap.
On the weekends we cleaned the house; dusted, vacuumed, swept, and switched our bedding to the other set of sheets. This was our weekly routine and had to be done before we could go outside or watch Saturday-morning cartoons.
I always volunteered to do the laundry because I could make the unsupervised sorting of socks in the basement, last for hours. I declared myself the Deputy of the Darned. I separate the socks into two piles: match ‘em or mend ‘em. We wore them till we wore them out.
We didn’t have much but my mom did the best with what we did have. We took turns grocery shopping with her. And when it was our turn, we got to choose the breakfast cereal and got to keep the prize from inside. That simple act made us feel seen, special, and loved. Those little toys were nothing amazing, but they made us feel like we were. And it taught us to appreciate the simple things in life, be frugal when necessary, and occasionally spoil or pamper ourselves. Life is too short to be always saving for the future, waiting for the right time, planning, and never doing.
Sure, I plan and save for the future, but I also treat myself with little luxuries along the way. Extra extravagances that may seem silly to you but mean something to me. We must allow ourselves to enjoy the journey and reward ourselves for our daily wins.
These days, I take my time in the shower and spend a little more on scented soaps which I can sometimes smell throughout the day. This makes me feel refreshed; It reminds me that every day is a new opportunity for happiness.
I search for nicer socks because I like the way they feel. I work hard and am on my feet most of the day. Those same feet that bring me from client to client need to be comforted, pampered, and rewarded. Those soft socks make me eager to get dressed and attack the day.
And at night, I smile as I slide into warm sheets in the winter and cool sheets in the summer. They act a congratulatory hug for the successes of the day.
It’s important to love and pamper ourselves in little ways, in our own ways, as often as possible. It’s necessary to put ourselves in a positive mindset. And it’s imperative that we consider ourselves ever-evolving success stories.
Lastly, if you’re looking for suggestions, an occasional pedicure is a much nicer indulgence than any toy I ever found in the bottom of a cereal box.
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