Luxury is most often associated with the idea of money, but luxury, by definition, is a condition, not a cost. It is a mindset, not a monetary value.
Luxury is defined by Merriam-Webster in a few different ways that add meaning to the idea that luxury is not defined by money. Here they are:
- A situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth.
- Something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available.
- A condition of abundance.
- Something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.
- An indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction or ease.
Notice in definition number one, the only reference to anything resembling money, the use of the word wealth. However, monetary wealth is certainly not the only or even the most fulfilling definition of wealth, nor the qualifying characteristic of measuring luxury.
Consider other key words and phrases like “a situation” or “a condition.” Situations of ease and comfort are created by far more characteristics than simply money.
Definition number two, describes a condition of scarcity. It may be true that money is scarce, but it’s not the only thing. Having a close, reliable friend could qualify for this definition, as could having more time or a necessary skill, neither of which require money, but perhaps an investment of another kind. Likely you’ve heard of “making time” as opposed to having time. Or even the admonition “to have a friend, be one.”
When I focus on the other conditions suggested by these definitions such as comfort, ease, and satisfaction, numerous possibilities present themselves to make life more luxurious irrespective to the amount of money involved.
For me luxury is measured not in how much money I have, but in my surroundings. Surroundings can be luxurious without being expensive. One way I define luxury is being surrounded by beautiful things. There is much beauty in life, but there is also much of the crass. Luxury carries with it the idea of expense, but beauty is not always, nor does it have to be, expensive. It is true that many times expensive things are luxurious, but beautiful things, luxurious things, are not always expensive.
I love beautiful things. I love to collect beautiful things. However, there is a little more to my idea of luxury than simply that.
For example, making dinner is much more pleasurable and definitely easier (pleasure and ease being conditions of luxury) in a clean kitchen. Life does not always provide an abundance of money, but I can certainly be wealthy and live luxuriously with an abundance of comfort, satisfaction, and pleasure. I simply had to realize for myself what things represent conditions of luxury, but also do not cost money, or at least cost money that I don’t have.
I realized that many of these things were things or situations I can create. Luxury can be created! Sometimes this requires a little more effort or planning, but I discovered I enjoy the planning and the effort is always worthwhile in the end. I can make life more luxurious simply by making it more beautiful.
By these definitions, excessive spending isn’t prerequisite to luxury. Luxury doesn’t cost money. At least, it doesn’t have to cost money. Luxury needn’t be expensive. When luxury is prescribed to as an idea, not a monetary cost, all kinds of possibilities open up.
What are the things in your life which bring pleasure, comfort and satisfaction, but don’t cost money? What can you do to create and abundance of these things?