Last week when my husband and I got away for a few days, we stopped at a wonderful little coffee shop. We both love dark, rich coffee, so we were delighted to learn that the barista/owner of the shop only serves pour over coffees. This method of making coffee, preferred by both of our “coffee snob” kids, takes a little more time, effort and forethought, but it produces the freshest, deepest flavor of coffee and makes for a rich and satisfying experience.
As the shop owner poured water heated to the perfect temperature over the fresh, course coffee grounds cradled in an oversized cone, he shared with us that he grinds all of his coffee on the same day he uses it in the shop. Then he chuckled and said that he and his wife (who was busy putting together delicious sandwiches behind him) take home the leftovers and use them at home. Isn’t that typical? Producing only the very best for your customers, but settling for leftovers for yourself, all in the name of smart business and frugality?
But as the barista then poured our fresh pour overs into cups he admitted that every once in a while the couple shares what they call “a little extravagance,” and they grind for themselves fresh coffee and linger over their own premium pour overs. Behind him, his wife turned around to face us and grinned. “Very rarely!” she inserted into the conversation.
That little exchange got me to thinking about little extravagances and how much delight they bring when we finally afford ourselves a few. As I drank that rich, satisfying and oh so flavorful cup of coffee I began to plan out this post that I wanted to share with you, dear reader. You see, I think we all could use a few little extravagances right now.
What Do I Mean by a Little Extravagance?
First of all, let me dispel your probable concern. I’m not suggesting we blow our budgets or spend frivolously. In fact, I don’t think the most enjoyable extravagances need to put a strain on our bank accounts at all.
Did you know that, while the word extravagance has come to be associated primarily with “a lack of restraint with spending or use of resources,” the word didn’t originally have anything to do with money at all? It wasn’t until approximately 1711 that extravagant took on the meaning of lavish or wasteful expenditures.
Before that, extravagant simply carried the meaning of the two words from which it is derived: the Latin words extra meaning “outside of” and vagari meaning “to roam or wander.” So something was considered extravagant if it was simply out of the ordinary or outside of the realm of routine.
And I think it’s absolutely beautiful and even essential to life for us occasionally to wander off from the ordinary, the routine to do or experience something extraordinary and delightful. Don’t you?
That’s what I mean by a little extravagance.
The Secret of Enjoying Little Extravagances
A true extravagance doesn’t have to cost a dime beyond our budget. But it may require an extra expenditure of our time and some calculated forethought. The well kept secret is that even the additional time and thought required to enjoy a little extravagance are somewhat delightful in themselves.
For instance, I think my husband would agree that he enjoyed the process of planning our recent little getaway to Kentucky and surprising me with the details. Yeah, that little trip wasn’t free. But it wasn’t frivolous or outside of budget either. The real extravagance was more the time we took away from work and the planning my husband had to put into making it happen. And oh how we enjoyed the deliciousness of those few days of “wandering outside of the realm of routine.”
The Benefit of a Little Extravagance
Whether you pause to grind your own coffee beans and prepare a pour over coffee or you get away to a cabin on the Ohio River, the benefits of a little extravagance are myriad.
A little extravagance can…
- delight the senses
- restore a sense of equilibrium when life has gotten out of balance
- slow your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure
- rejuvenate a relationship that has lost some sparkle
- generate conversation or thought
- provide rest and relaxation
- infuse life into a struggling business or project
- spark romance and rekindle love
- evoke worship of God and gratitude for His blessings
- remind you of your priorities and get you back on track
- add delight to otherwise hard or even disdainful situations
I’m sure there are other positive results of enjoying a little extravagance. Maybe you can add some in the comments below. But let’s camp on that final one I listed for just a moment.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic we’ve been in for so many months with no definite end in sight, I think it’s so important that we schedule in and intentionally plan for a little extravagance. And the social distancing and wearing of masks doesn’t make it easy to do so. Honestly, some of the little extravagances we used to enjoy so easily have now become impossible or extremely difficult. Add to that the sense of loss that sometimes makes us throw in the towel before even trying. Everything just seems harder, doesn’t it?
But I want to encourage us both to do what it takes to include a few little extravagances in our lives each week. I think we’ll be better people for it.
A Few Little Extravagances
I thought it would be fun for us to brainstorm on this together. Will you join me in the comments below and help me compile a list of little extravagances that we can easily enjoy during this unique time? It’s okay if they cost a little something, by the way. After all, most of us do budget a little something for fun or vacations or entertainment. But I’d love for our list to also include things that really don’t cost a dime but only require a little extra thought and time.
A few little extravagances…
- grind your own coffee and make a pour over (recommended by my son) or French press (my husband’s favorite)
- sit down to tea with a beautiful tea pot (similar to the kind I brought home from Japan), cups, saucers and “biscuits” or scones
- dress up a little for a week night dinner with your spouse or family
- set a pretty table with flowers and/or candles
- play your favorite music during family dinner instead of watching television
- enjoy a good glass of wine before or with your meal
- set up a Facetime or Zoom call with a friend instead of texting or calling on the fly
- change into luscious loungewear for your quiet Sunday afternoon at home
- enjoy a bubble bath with candles and soft music before getting into bed
- eat dinner or lunch outside, even on your own back deck or porch
- treat yourself to some pretty flowers at the grocery store
- take a nap on a day besides Sunday
- pause for a home manicure and use a pretty new polish
- read a book (next on my book club list) just for the fun of it
- prepare a decadent and yummy dessert for dinner
Alright, I’ll let you finish our list. I look forward to your ideas for enjoying a little extravagance every now and again.
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.