Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spoiling Myself

A few years ago I tried to not act at all on entitlement or spoiling myself.

After all, entitlement is one of the "seven deadly sins". The Latin word avarita has become avarice (greed) but the original meaning of the word is slightly different: more than desiring wealth or power, avarita is desiring anything that we believe is justly ours.

My experiment didn't work. Once I stopped consciously doing anything to spoil myself, I would unconsciously seek that out. My experiment did more harm than good.

Since then I've usually used chocolate and tea to spoil myself. When I want to spoil myself in other ways, it is easy to resist because I do have nice chocolate and tea.

Occasionally, God asks me to fast from these items, besides on Yom Kippur. I am not entitled to them, even if I do normally use them to spoil myself.

Besides being enjoyable, these splurges are inexpensive. My normal dark chocolate is one of the Trader Joe's "Pound Plus" bars. This is quite inexpensive (more than a pound of Belgian 70% cocoa for less than $4). My favorite teas are two "pearl" teas from the Stash Tea Company: Silver Beads and Phoenix Pearl Green. Those appear expensive, but only use 4-5 "pearls" of tea per 2.5 cup mug of tea, so one package makes hundreds of cups of tea.

My brother and father are difficult to shop for. Fun and fancy tea that unrolls as it steeps is a good Chanukah present for them, too.

I'll probably never sit in any of the world's fanciest cars, nor eat the world's most famous fancy meals. But I can regularly and affordably enjoy some of the world's best chocolate and tea.

UPDATE: My kitchen scale tells me 150 "pearls" of tea weigh .15 of an ounce. The scale confirms that a bag contains 3.5 ounces of tea, so there are about 3,500 "pearls" per bag. Thus if I use 5 "pearls"per 2.5 cup mug of tea, I get 700 mugs of tea per bag. That's quite a bit cheaper than most bagged tea!