Most of us in the United States have grown up enjoying the benefits of electricity, running water, flushing toilets, windows, cars, etc. Our perspective on luxury typically means things like driving a Lexus instead of a Toyota, living in a nice house instead of an apartment, wearing diamonds instead of cubic zirconia. We think of people like Donald Trump or famous models, singers and actors in their luxurious mansions, jetset lifestyles and extravagant vacations as living a life of luxury and that we just live the “middle class” life. Some of us see our neighbor’s boats or riding lawnmowers as “luxury items” and wish we could have the same.
But, as I count my blessings, I can see the flip side. I can see that I actually do have a life of luxury. While in college in Flagstaff, I worked as a tour guide and took many people out to the Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations. These tourists were fascinated by the lives of the Hopi high up on a mesa in the middle of the desert. They lived without running water or electricity. Their “bathrooms” were wooden outhouses that clung precariously on the edge of the cliff. These tourists also found the Navajo lifestyle to be unique as many were still residing in the circular mud huts known as “hogans”. They too had no running water or electricity.
In the mid-2000s I spent a few weeks in Cebu, in the Philippines. During this time I gained a whole new perspective on luxury. Indeed, many Filipinos have nice cars and nice places to live, but the majority do not. They see the average American as rich and living a life of luxury. We are all billionaires in their eyes. I also saw the massive poverty where people lived clumped together in squatter’s villages built out of corrugated metal and wooden posts. They bathed in dirty rivers. They had no beds or windows.
As I said, luxury is a matter of perspective. I am thankful to turn on a switch and have light. I count it a blessing to turn a handle and have warm water flowing from a shower. I look at my fairly inexpensive hot tub as a luxury item in my household.
I enjoy life’s little luxuries. I don’t need a yacht. I don’t need a vacation home on an island. I have sufficient. I am blessed. I am content. I am grateful.