Jan 25 4 Comments

What is luxury anyhow?


Once I was watching Steve as he took a half-a-liter vanilla yogurt container and poured most of it into his cereal. “What are you doing?” I half shouted in despair and shock. “You cannot use all that yogurt and you cannot pour it out of the container like that.” Steve looked pretty surprised at my violent reaction. He had no idea he had done anything wrong.

Yogurt is not particularly expensive in Norway, not compared to other groceries at least. But to me, yogurt is a luxury that one should eat sparingly and with much gratefulness. One should not take yogurt for granted.

When I grew up they did not sell the yogurt in big containers, just small ones that was enough for a nice little snack. In my family with four kids and one income, yogurt was a luxury we only got some times. And when we did, it was very special. We would never open the fridge and just pull out and eat a container of yogurt. Never. At least we would have to ask first, and that was after behaving well for a while.

So even now, a hundred years later, I have the feeling that yogurt is always sparse and we need to treat it with respect and modesty. To not do so violates my yogurt values.

I feel the same way with OJ. It is cheaper to buy than milk, and I can probably have it in my fridge for the rest of my life. But still, I always feel like to fill a whole glass with OJ is a luxury I don’t deserve. I always just fill it half way up. Twice. I honestly don’t think there was OJ in our fridge more than a handful of times when I grew up. The few times we tasted it, I felt like I had tasted Paradise.

Russian Caviar? Luxury? Well, I guess in most people’s eyes it is because it is so darn expensive. But for me, that is less luxurious than OJ and Vanilla yogurt. I am not even sure if I would have eaten the Russian caviar had I had it in my fridge. It does not go well with musli or with homemade bread.

A free light show on the sky

Last night at 11 PM I sat with Steve at our balcony, all bundled up in warm clothes. The temperature was minus 10 and on the sky the northern lights were dancing salsa. It was a show more spectacular than one you could watch in Vegas. And it cost us nothing (except from lack of sleep). Luxury? Oh, yes.

What else do I think is luxurious?

Avocados. I will never take an avocado for granted. It is luxury in pale green.

Walking my dog on a dirt road with the mountain and and the forest on one side, and the ocean on the other. After living in a big city for 20 years, that is luxury.

Sleeping past 6 AM. That is decadence actually. 16 years as a mom has taught me to value my sleep.

A good cup of cafe latte. And by that I mean a good cup. And it can’t be in a paper cup, and it can’t be drunk in the car or while walking. What is the pleasure and the luxurious feeling of rushing through a cup of coffee like that. No, my friend, sit down, listen to jazz, watch something pretty or read something stimulating, savor the coffee with a piece of good chocolate. Get in touch with the inner you.

A good marriage. How many can honestly say their spouse is their best friend after 21 years? To have a person to share one’s joys, fears, frustrations, thoughts or laughs with is worth more than the jackpot.

Time alone. Baby, that is my biggest treat to myself. Time spent alone when I can do absolutely what I want to do. Is there a better gift? What can be more luxurious than reading a whole chapter of your book without getting interrupted?

Pine nuts. They are more scarce than yogurt and taste so good when I on a rare occasion splurge and buy them.

Time and ability to exercise. I have lived through times in my life when I had to move as little as possible. That was enough for me to realize what an incredible luxury it is to have a body I can move.

And the list goes on. What is luxury for you? Not a new diamond, I hope.


  • stevegumaer says:

    I’m glad our marriage made the luxury list. On that I agree with you. But I would add red wine. It’s better than avocado.

  • Linda Busklein says:

    I think you made a pretty complete list! Undisturbed nature and a husband that you actually still like and respect after so many years definitely should top the list! So should family and friends that value time over stuff. Your time is after all another word for your life, which is a luxury in itself. Love your blog and your new book too!

  • Dianna Michaels says:

    The only thing better to read than a whole chapter of the current book in one’s hand is the FINAL chapter of the book you have enjoyed – alone!

    • oddnygumaer says:

      Dianna, that is actually true. I am hoping I can read the last chapter of the book I am working on now soon. There is a whole pile of new ones I need to get through.