Most people have those times in life when they work their way through the expenses of living and decide what has to be prioritised and what has to go first when push comes to shove.
Being a fairly pessimistic sort when it comes to looking at the economy, I fairly frequently assess my current must-haves and what matters most to me in terms of life’s little luxuries.
I know for example that I could give up coffee shops (or at least drastically reduce the time spent in them) and also buying books given all the great libraries within spitting distance of my home and work. I could survive without make-up and new clothes. I’m happy to wear extra jumpers and turn down heating, and I periodically check I can get to everywhere I need to on public transport lest I have to give up a car.
I’d find it tough to give up decent haircuts (though I once did go for an entire year without one) and I would be reluctant to deprive myself of meat.
But the one luxury I would absolutely hate to abandon would be my subscription to a local outdoor pool which is open year-round at all the hours I’m inclined to want to swim.
I love this pool. Any time of day, any season, all weather. Preferably when I can have it all to myself, although I quite understand why others want to be there as well.
On sunny days at any time of the year, I can imagine myself somewhere else altogether. On winter nights in the dark, I love the outside chill and watching the steam rise from the surface of the water.
I worry about the environmental cost of these hedonistic moments. I feel guilty about the fuel costs of driving there and back. I keep wondering about how much longer the planet can sustain and society can allow heated outdoor pools. It hasn’t stopped me though. As long as it’s there, it’s at the top of my list of life’s essentials.