The other day I went to Dollar General, which is pretty much the only chain store on the island, to buy conditioner for my hair. I needed a few toiletry items like chapstick and razors, but mostly I was excited to buy some new conditioner. I love getting some tropical scented hair products in the middle of winter. It makes my shower feel like a spa treatment.
When I looked at the selection, I thought of how girls in Atlanta would be horrified by the cheap, non-salon options I had to choose from. V05 and Suave aren’t up to code among the martini moms in ATL. But when I was a kid living on this same island, we had nowhere to buy basics like shampoo and toothpaste except from the tiny grocery store, where they were exorbitantly priced. The nearest big stores were Roses (now defunct, I believe) and, when I was older, Wal-Mart, both an hour and a half drive. Moving back here and having a Dollar General is thrilling! I don’t have to drive an hour and a half for mascara!
I looked at the selection of conditioner and felt LUCKY. I chose some coconut scented concoction with an ugly sticker that said, “50% More- Free!” and again chuckled at how some of my Atlanta friends would be ashamed to put it in their cart.
I think that I have a clear advantage over someone whose identity is tied up in which hair products (or clothes or shoes or purses or houses or vehicles) they own. I had a lovely afternoon choosing conditioner and chapstick. I enjoyed a hot shower with the scent of the tropics wafting through my steam-filled bathroom, and I was happy.
A lot of people can’t be happy with things they consider inferior. They have to have fancy things, expensive things. I think when we give up the idea that we deserve nicer things than we have or can afford and we decide to be content with the things that are available to us, we take a big step toward happiness. My house here is half the size of my house in Atlanta and I gave away rooms full of beautiful things when we moved. But I am so much happier living here! I don’t need a big house or salon conditioner to feel okay about myself. Where other people might feel deprived, I’m thriving!