Yesterday’s daily prompt: Ostentatious
As a little girl, there were many glittery and extravagant things I wanted.
I wanted necklaces and earrings, fancy dresses and toys. I wanted a frilly pink bedroom, a pool in our backyard, and a shiny new car for my sweet 16 (this was before I realized how terrible I am at driving). As I grew older, I realized that I could buy many of these things for myself. This was because I worked more and got paid more as I took on better jobs. My friends, too, went through a similar process. Our presents to each other became attached to a bigger and bigger budget, up to the point where we tell each other, “There’s nothing I really want”, because the things we really want are inappropriate to ask for (i.e. a car, a laptop, a house, a repayment on our student loans, etc.).
We see these photos pop up on our feed all the time: “Look, my boyfriend got me jewelry from Tiffany’s” or “Hey, my parents bought me the new iPhone”. I also post photos of expensive presents I’ve received. Sometimes, you can’t help but show off something because you are happy about it, because maybe it was something you really wanted for a long time.
What I didn’t know I wanted though, were meaningful experiences.
There are many things we receive that we are unable to share on social media, but they are gifts that become more precious to us than a new watch or pair of shoes. We receive experiences in all types of forms: front row seats to a clear view of the milky way, a touching live guitar performance in your bedroom, the first home-cooked meal someone has ever attempted, a non-stop laughing festival that makes your stomach hurt after.
None of these experiences have to be showy or glamorous, although they definitely can be. The fact that they don’t have to, but can still provide such happiness and fulfillment to our lives acts as a reminder that gifts and moments don’t have to be ostentatious for it to be memorable or valuable. They just have to be genuine and with the right people.
Indulgence is emptiness. I have proved the limits of food and frivolity. There is no real fulfillment in meaningless rushes of pleasure. You try to conceal the emptiness with more extravagance, only to find the thrills becoming less satisfying and more fleeting. Most pleasures are best as a seasoning, not the main course. However you try to disguise it, you end up feeding without being nourished.
― Brandon Mull, A World Without Heroes