I found a lifestyle magazine in my hotel room. Browsing through it, the illusion of perfect people living a perfect life, I started to think what is true luxury.
Private jets and yachts, hot tubs and hot clubs, sparkling diamonds, designer clothes and handbags, fast cars anda never ending flow of champagne is reality for some people, but for most of us: it’s Not. But this is the lifestyle we are all supposed to want. Even if your salary would barely allow you to make a one week last minute trip to the Canary Islands off season, the only right way to spend the holidays would be at least one month at a five star spa resort on an exotic island. If you live a lifestyle other than this, for God’s sake start to do whatever it takes until you get there, until you live The Lifestyle!
I just saw a perfect manifestation of this so called luxury at the Oslo Airport while I was queuing for some lunch. In front of me there was a black guy wearing big Bvlgari sunglasses inspite of the cloudy weather and the fact that we were inside. With the help of his bright blue Armani T-shirt he was showing off the results of his hard work at the gym. A Gucci coat wrapped over an Emporio Armani messenger bag, a Louis Vuitton belt, D&G jeans and Prada shoes.
The girlfriend was looking bored and pushing their luggage trolley back and fort in front of the pizza stand. Taking a look at her, the first thing to draw attention were her lips that looked as if they were about to explode. To seal this effect, she had applied a thick layer of lipgloss on them. A Louis Vuitton bag, D&G jeans, a Gucci T-shirt with a generous decoltè offering a good view of her breast implants. She kept swinging her head from one side to another letting the long hair extentions fly across the air. A penetrating cloud of parfume was surrounding both of them. And in spite of all the expensive stuff they had covered theirselves in, they still managed to look kind of …cheap. And I’m not sure that this is exactly the type of advertisement these luxury brands are aiming at either.
To me, luxury is not a synonyme for expensive, but more for something that is of value because it is rare or exceptional and brings me a feeling of joy and beauty. Of course it is nice to drink champagne in a hot tub and a designer handbag or a piece of high jewellery can be a real investment and a lifetime companion, but there are also other, everyday luxuries. To name a few:
Quality. I want to buy things that are well made, made of good natural materials and will last for a long time. Quality most often comes with a price, since there is most likely some research, craftsmanship and professional workforce behind the product. One thing that I just cannot stand is the idea of disposable goods; I’ll buy this shirt because it is only 3 euros, it doesn’t matter if it breaks in a week and I don’t even bother to try it on, since it is so cheap! There is no such thing as a 3 euro T-shirt; Someone or something always pays the price.
Local. I’m sure that where ever you live, there are local designers, craftsmen and small entrepreneurs who are struggling to make a living. Using local materials and workforce is good for the community and for the environment as well.
Second hand. Ok, I love designer stuff, at least some of it: The interesting pieces in which you can really see the creativity and know-how that makes a piece of clothing or an accessory interesting, aesthetic and comfortable to wear. There are lots of designer second hand boutiques where you can find timeless treasures from all the designers you love for reasonable prices. And finding something special makes you almost proud of discovering this wonderful item before someone else did.
Clean nature. The smell of a forest after the rain, the sound of a river, birdsong, swimming in a clear lake, picking your own blueberries, breathing the fresh air. Clean nature is a luxury. And it is one of the greatest luxuries of all; something I truly appreciate and try to preserve with every decision I take. Same goes for Clean Water, Clean Air and Clean Food – All of them luxuries that are too often taken for granted.
Time. Sometimes the technological innovations that were ment to save us time end up consuming even more of it. You need to reached by phone, by email and by social media at all times. Working and sleeping might take most of the 24 hours you have per day. So allow yourself a new type of luxury and take time for yourself. Do the things you enjoy doing, take up a hobby that you always dreamed of and share some of this precious time with the people you love. Be present in every single moment, because the only time we really have is now.
Natural beauty. The world reflects what you feel inside. Beauty can be found almost everywhere. Take a moment to look around you, see all the things that are happening right now. Personally I like to have an imaginary camera with me at all times, seeing the world through captured moments in imaginary frames. Natural beauty is often simple; without any glitter or shine it can take your breath away.
Silence. We are all surrounded by noise. Irritating or comforting sounds; our ears and eyes are busy all day long. For me, it is a luxury to take a moment of meditation in silence, just listening to my own breathing. I think we all deserve silence. Don’t be afraid of silence -embrace it.