I was at a family gathering the other day, and I was wearing a pair of cowboy boots. A really cool pair, I do admit – light brown, with pointed toes and designs in teal blue and white stitching.

My cousin admired my boots, admitting that she longed for a pair herself and had been trying to win a free pair from Country Outfitters on Facebook. “I want a pair of cowboy boots,” she said. “I’ve really always wanted a red pair.”

My reply was instantaneous. “I love my boots. You should get a pair!”

“But it seems so self-indulgent!” she said.

“Be self-indulgent,” I counseled. “Go for it.”

I respect people’s financial constraints, and their self-restraint. And I really wanted my cousin to buy herself a pair of red cowboy boots, if she could afford them. I think that we often deny ourselves things we want, for a myriad of reasons, when actually allowing ourselves our desires would be fine. If she could afford the boots, then buying them would be a good thing. Self-indulgence, perhaps in moderation, is a good thing.

And perhaps not even in moderation. Maybe we’d all be happier, and life would be sweeter and the world would be better, if we self-indulged more often. Not more than we can afford, and not when it might hurt others, but other than that, why not? Why not allow ourselves things that would bring us joy? Maybe we need to search for our hearts’ desires that don’t cost money. And maybe sometimes it’s fine when things do cost money. I know I delight every time I wear my cowboy boots, and I want my cousin to have that delight for herself. To treat herself well.

But I can’t be self-righteous about this and insist that she buy herself red cowboy boots, because I have also wanted a pair of red cowboy boots for pretty much as long as I can remember. I think they’re so cool. Beyond cool even. I love, love, love the ones I have (actually I have two pairs of cowboy boots). But red cowboy boots? There still is a gap in my life that they could fill.

But that is a gap that I can live with. Truly, for me, it’s a self-indulgence I don’t feel compelled towards right now. I own two pairs already, and as much as I would love a pair of red boots, it’s not time for me to buy another pair. Especially when I am planning to buy myself a pair of non-cowboy boots instead.

I am choosing my moderation. I am choosing my self-indulgence. I will eventually choose my red cowboy boots. They are so cool.

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