notquiteold

Nancy Roman

5 Things You Deserve Now

Years ago, when I was single – I’d say young and carefree, except I wasn’t quite that young, and I’m not sure I was ever carefree –  I went out to dinner with a girlfriend. It was a fairly skimpy meal as I recall, and we were deep in a conversation (probably about work…we hardly ever discussed men; just our crummy jobs), so I suggested we go back to my place where we could continue to bitch and at the same time have ice cream to supplement our small but pricey dinner.

When I took out the carton of gelato, my friend was rather astonished.

“Were you expecting company?” she asked when she saw the container of very premium ice cream.

“No,” I answered. “It’s just a little pint of my favorite flavor.”

“I can’t believe you would buy something like that for just yourself,” she said.

And I smiled.

Because I had learned that lesson long before.

When I was a kid, I knew a lovely old woman who was part of our extended family. Rachel had been widowed for many years. And when I was a teenager, I remember a conversation with her that made a lasting impression. It was one of those small moments that changes your life and you recognize immediately that it is changing your life. I can’t recall what sparked this serious discussion between a young girl and an 80-year-old woman, but we were talking about happiness and loneliness.

Rachel said that the secret to happiness was being nice to yourself. “I’ve lived alone a very long time,” she said. “So I take extra care to be kind to myself. Who else is responsible for making sure I have a good life?” she said. “I often have no company for days on end. So I treat myself like company every day.”

In that moment, I understood.

I see too many people who don’t treat themselves well.

Who don’t think they are worth the good ice cream.

Here are five things you can do right now to treat yourself like company.

1. You deserve to live in a clean house. When company is coming over you always pick up, right? Well, clean the house for yourself. You deserve a nice environment. You deserve a shiny bathroom. You deserve clean sheets when you go to bed at night. A fresh-smelling refrigerator. A clean house is a gift you give yourself.

2. You deserve to dress well. Remember the last time you got all dressed up, and felt wonderful about yourself? You can do that every day. I don’t necessarily mean a fancy outfit or an expensive necklace. Just this: When you do shop, buy only what you love. Even if it is a sweatshirt – which I hope it isn’t  – but if it is, at least buy one that you LOVE. Too many times I see people shopping whose attitude seems to be ‘good enough.’ As if they don’t believe they are worth the time or energy needed to find something that fits well, compliments them – and most important – makes them happy. Hold out for something that thrills you. Soon you’ll have a wardrobe (even if it is a small one) composed entirely of clothes you love. And so you’ll be wearing something you love every day. Think about how good that would make you feel.

3. You deserve to use your good stuff. Do you have your Grandma’s silver? Some beautiful wine glasses that were a wedding present? Some candles with a heavenly aroma that you never use?  USE THEM. Drive that vintage Mustang to the post office. Take out your good china tonight. Light those candles. Treat yourself like company.

4. You deserve to love what you do. Hardly any of us are lucky enough to make a living doing what we love. If you are one of those few – wow. But most of us have to buy groceries and pay the rent by keeping our boring or maybe even awful jobs. That’s just a fact of life. As my mother used to say, “Welcome to adulthood.” But on the other hand, that lousy job is eight hours a day, and you probably need to sleep eight hours too. But that still leaves another eight hours. Every day. Could you fill ONE of them with something you love? Reading, swimming, baking muffins, playing with the dog. You deserve to spend some time with a smile on your face. And what if it turned out that you could do that for TWO hours a day? Double wow.

And while I am on the subject of doing what you love:

5. You deserve to be unashamed of what you love. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I recently overheard someone ridicule a friend for reading a romance novel. And the romance-lover was embarrassed and actually apologized for her poor taste in reading material. How I wish she had said, “I LOVE this book!” What do you love? Star Trek conventions? Dolly Parton music? Making paper airplanes? Knitting little sweaters for your hamster?  You are lucky to have found something that gives you such pleasure. Be proud of it.

You deserve it.

You are worth the good ice cream.

photo:  Kevin D. Weeks

Photo by Kevin D. Weeks (creative commons use)

**

This essay originally published on The Huffington Post.

78 Comments

  1. Great post and so very true. Lovely way to start a Sunday. Off to take myself to a movie and then spend the day with my horse.

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    • That sounds really nice. Tell your horse hello from Nancy.

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  2. Deb

    Thank you. I needed to read this 🙂

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    • I truly believe this – and try every day to live this way. Try having breakfast using your good dishes. Even toast tastes better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sassycoupleok

    Very nice words and thoughts and when you think about they are so true. Great way to start the day. On that note we are off to the resort to spend the day nude with our friends and we are definitely unashamed that we enjoy doing so !! 🙂

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    • Good for you. Never ever be ashamed of your friends.

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  4. I love your attitude. This is very good advice. 😊

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    • Thank you. Do something extra nice for yourself today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries…after living with a husband for 27 years who struggles with depression, anxiety, and ADHD, I’m committed to giving myself treats as often as possible – it’s a survival strategy!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When I sold my house in New Hampshire and just about everything I owned including all the old plates and bowls and pans, I kept only my Portmeiron tableware, the ones with a different flower on every piece. The good stuff. I swore I would use it every day. And I do and those lovely flowers make me smile. Every day.

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    • We also use our good dishes every day. We have to handwash them because we won’t put them in the dishwasher – but we still use them every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That sentiment is what made me start my daily ritual to Starbucks. I love that shot of mocha each morning and it makes me feel special (which of course I am). I also love your item on clothes. I have been with friends who are wearing something unflattering to wear it out or get their money’s worth. Not worth it. Life’s too short. Rather have fewer things and do more laundry than wear things you don’t love. Love this post! Maybe I’ll pick up some Cherry Garcia ice cream today…..

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    • Coffee ice cream from Arethusa Dairy in Connecticut is my latest favorite. The cows get massages and their ice cream is very sensual.

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  7. Absolutely love this! I have given away a lot of useful but ugly kitchenware and I love what remains – and use it 🙂

    And I’d add to the list – buy your own damn jewelry! Hubbs buys me nice stuff, yes, but if I see something I want and love – I buy it 😀
    MJ

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    • What a great idea! The first time I ever bought myself a nice piece of jewelry, I bought a ring with a dozen little opals at an antique show. I felt so much pleasure buying something amazing for myself. And I still feel that joy when I wear it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Too true!! I also believe that we make the best companions for others when we are already a fabulous companion to ourself. In other words, have that internal self-assurance to live life in a way that creates without any effort daily joy and satisfaction. 🙂

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    • Absolutely. When you really LIKE yourself, you are a pleasure to be with. A pleasure for yourself to be with; a pleasure for others to be with.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the great post. I agree with you on all of it! I’ll spend $5 or $6 on a tuna sandwich for lunch but will second guess buying a pint of the good ice cream which will last longer and bring me more joy (I do buy it). We can dress down at work but I usually prefer wearing clothes other than jeans and will get asked if I have somewhere to go after work. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned I deserve to be good to myself and I am!

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    • Good for you. I love wearing jeans – but I treat myself to great-fitting jeans with a fabulous top – and good jewelry and shoes!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree – if where you live and what you wear and what you eat and drink (and put your food on and drink in) and what you do (for a living or for ‘fun’) doesn’t bring you absolute joy, what is the point of living? Great post. Wonderful advice!

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    • Thanks Margo…. I try to take special joy in the small things… because that’s what life is mostly about. You don’t get a fabulous vacation very often – but you can have a nice wine in crystal while reading a good book!

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  11. These are definitely words of wisdom and a great reminder! I’m going out today to get my favorite ice cream! I’m also going to shop for something I will truly love to wear. The house is clean so I figure I’m already pampering my favorite guest. Thanks! 🙂

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    • Good for you! Doesn’t it make you feel great when the house is sparkly?

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  12. My mother had vision problems in later life. I once found her new glasses in a drawer. When I asked why, she said that they were expensive and she didn’t want to break them. Meanwhile, she couldn’t see a thing! She could have used a lesson in being good to herself!

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    • Lots of older folks are like that – “I’m saving it.”

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  13. Wonderful post! We need to treat ourselves with more kindness 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

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  14. Marie

    Well done for encouraging women to be nice to themselves. So often, it’s seen as selfishness – though not so in men. But it’s a bit like the instruction you get on airplanes regarding oxygen masks i.e., please put your own mask on first, as you can’t help anyone else if you can’t breathe. So true, in all aspects of life. 🌻

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    • What a great analogy! Always make sure you can breathe first!

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  15. Nancy, I love and believe in every word of this post. I once had a friend who was single who bought herself presents now and then, especially for holidays, and always had them gift wrapped at the store so she could have the pleasure of opening them at home. I’ve never done that myself, but I do most of the other things on your list and the concept is the same.

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    • I’ve bought some nice gifts for myself, but never had them wrapped… but maybe next time. (There will certainly be a next time.)

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  16. Susan

    It’s wonderful all your readers get the idea from your story. Just how fortunate were we to LIVE it, with not only Mrs. A., but with great aunts that taught us the same thing? Wonderful memory’s…

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    • She was a woman of class and character. We were lucky to have known her.

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  17. I love the last line of this post. Wonderful story. Brightens my day.

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  18. Yes, we are worth it!

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  19. Please pass the tub and a spoon…… on second thoughts, I’m off to the supermarket to get a bigger tub and a smaller spoon (lasts longer)! 🙂

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  20. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Absolutely!

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  21. Wonderful post!

    I’ve been sick over the last several months and have not been keeping my house up. We have friends coming from overseas this week. He, a very old, dear friend. She will be a new friend, as we haven’t met her before. I made myself clean up the areas I have just not looked at — now they are clean and will stay that way. Because you are absolutely right!

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    • Your house always seems more like home when it is clean, tidy, and welcoming.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe you could treat yourself to having your house cleaned, if not on a permanent basis but certainly when you are feeling sick. What a boost a clean house is. I found this out after spending 3 weeks sitting at my partner’s bedside for around 10 hours a day I came home on Friday to a clean house. What a great treat to myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do, so it’s not so bad. It’s the big clean out projects I hadn’t been able to do. I did one yesterday and it felt wonderful!

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  22. What a ripper post 🙂 This may be the answer to world peace, I wonder if some of those angry leaders of countries perhaps deny themselves cookies and cream and have the store brand vanilla every night, and wear ill fitting but inexpensive underwear!!

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    • I think many people feel that denying themselves nice things shows strength of character, but it gradually reinforces self-hatred.

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  23. Wonderful advice!

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  24. Debra Moore

    My advice to young people is to be kind to themselves, after all, they are their own best friend. Who else will be with you until the end? Good thoughts, I will flip this into my Messages to my 90 Year Old Self to remind myself of this important advice in years to come. Thank you 🙂

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    • Why not take exquisite care of yourself? Let’s make our stay on this planet as nice as possible.

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  25. I drink milk out of fancy wine glasses and our dinner set up at the cabin is grandmas china. I dont believe in waiting for special occasions to come to me. Every day is a apecial occasion. Wear the bling if it makes you feel good, spend a little more on the luxuries no one will buy you but you. And I soooo agree..do what you love and shout your loves to the world. We all deserve that.

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    • Very well said! I wear my good jewelry too… with my favorite jeans.

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  26. Exactly what I needed to read at the end of another grueling day at the hospital. Just off to open that special ice cream I bought when friends were due for dinner. They had to be put off because of our current circumstances. So I shall enjoy it on my own.
    However, I have always known that one must treat themselves and I usually do, I just got lost along the way with this cancer situation.
    Thank you for reminding me Nancy.

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    • Take good care of yourself. Serve yourself that special ice cream in a fancy dish while your at it.

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  27. Well said!

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  28. This is spot on, Nancy. Some of my fondest memories are when I had my own apartment. I kept it spotless and bought only groceries I wanted. I believe I got to know myself better and I learned how to enjoy my own company just by living on my own.

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    • I think everyone should live along for at least a year or so… I lived alone for ten years. And I liked it and I liked myself.

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  29. Wow. I can see why this was first published on the Huffington Post. BTW, I got to hear Ariana H. herself recently. She spoke about just this kind of thing (but did not steal your material). A friend once dropped by when I was about to have dinner by myself and was astounded to see that I had set a place for myself complete with real silver and a crystal wineglass. Hey, if I don’t think I deserve great treatment, who else will?

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    • You deserve it. We all need to be kind to ourselves and treat ourselves to the best we have to offer.

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  30. Dana

    Wish I had the energy, or money for most of these!

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    • Well, start small. Light a nice candle with your next dinner.

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  31. I so buy into this philosophy. As well as the ice cream. Not sure about cleaning the house though….

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    • Well, you don’t have to do it all at once. Today, just do the dishes and wipe down the sink so it is nice and shiny. I love a shiny sink.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have this corian sink which scrubs up well even after 20 years. Wish I could say the same.

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  32. Reblogged this on Wiggins Words and Images and commented:
    Since I’ve been MIA (or is it AWOL) for much of the summer, I’m sharing this amazing advice from one of my favorite bloggers. There is so much wisdom here. Thank you, Nancy.

    Like

  33. Victoria

    Yes! I have been ridiculed for making elaborate composed salads on a fancy platter on a random Tuesday. Why should my dinner look like a heap of scraps? I’m proud of my knife skills. Why shouldn’t I use them?

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    • You absolutely should! On a fancy plate with a linen napkin.

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  34. In that same spirit, I have taken to putting on makeup every day – including foundation – even when I know I’m not going out anywhere, so that every time I look in the mirror, I look my best for myself (and for my cats, of course 😉 )

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    • I love how much better I look with a little makeup!

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  35. I am slowly learning this, to love myself much better. It is coming to fruition, to treat myself to the things I love, everyday. This was a wonderful reminder.

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    • Do something extra special for yourself today!

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  36. Really adored this. I think self-love is vital to happiness. Its also a great challenge for many women since we’re socialized to put others first. But over time we learn to be good to ourselves. Its all part of self-esteem.

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  37. Good point -we DO deserve all of that stuff! Tossing the generic ice cream today and going for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

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