Doing without, on purpose

My stories today are about doing without in order to appreciate what you’ve got. 

Act 1 – “A hand towel vs a bath towel”

My daughter likes to shower in my bathroom. She likes to wrap herself in my towel, walk downstairs, and deposit my towel on the floor. Eight years of reminders and I still find towels on the floor, but that’s another story. 

I wake up blurry eyed and pop into the shower without checking for a towel. I get out and see a hand towel. It could be worse. It could be a washcloth. I make do and think about moving more towels upstairs. This same story repeats itself every day for a week. Each day I get annoyed with myself for not bringing up more towels, until as some point it becomes comical.

Then one glorious day, I remember to bring up a bath towel. I use the towel and I’m in full appreciation of the luxurious towel. It’s so big and so thirsty. But then I wonder, would I be so bath towel appreciative if I had not used a hand towel all week? I don’t think so.

Act 2 – “Our car vs a rental car”

Our car was in the shop and we got a rental car. The rental car was fine, but it wasn’t our car. There were a few things we didn’t like about the rental car – it was noisy, it lurched when you touched the gas pedal, and it smelled funny.

Two weeks later when we got our car back, we were elated. We fully appreciated the smooth, quiet ride of our Toyota Prius. We also enjoyed the absence of a funny scent, or maybe we just like the funny scent of our car. A week later we’re still enjoying our car more than before the rental car experience.

Want to try this out? You can purposely do without. Try not dining out for a while and then plan a nice dinner out. Hand wash all your dishes for a few days and then feel the joy of automatic dishwashing. Don’t shower for a few weeks and then… just kidding. You get my point.

Have you had this experience? Have you gone without, and later appreciated what you had much more? Please leave your thoughts in a Comment.


6 thoughts on “Doing without, on purpose

  1. Hi Kate interesting story re the towels, I just love my big shower towels, and do not think a hand towel will make it with me. I can see your daughter’s point – she knows nice things make her feel good.
    A shower is important to me. I like those shower heads that you have on the end of the shower hose, it is super, and many times I have thought while using it this sure starts the day great. I cannot talk about a car rental or your own car, I no longer have a car boo boo hoo. It is just the pits not getting in the car and doing what you want to do.

  2. This reminds me of the old saying “hunger is the best sauce.” When you’re used to being without something, having it in any way, shape or form can be a delicious experience.

    We went without using our car for 4 months last year while trying to decide whether to sell it or not. I work at home, my husband takes a shuttle to work, and we have great public transportation options as well as a car-sharing service. So we thought it would be a piece of cake.

    Even though we proved that living without a car was possible, it did cut down on our comfort quite a bit. We only drive about 5000 miles per year, but it is nice doing it whenever we want. The best drive I ever took in that car was the first one after our 4-month car fast!

  3. I can think of two examples of this; one out of choice, the other forced cruelly upon me!

    The choice was to give up chocolate for 2 weeks, it was about 3 years ago, but I still remember the magical first piece I had afterwards – 70% cocoa solids with coffee. I should probably do that again!

    The not so pleasant one was when our boiler broke in the middle of winter. It was about 6 weeks until it was fixed and we’d have to either wash from a sink of kettle-boiled water, shower at work or escape for the weekend to somewhere we could shower. After that, just being able to have a hot shower in our own bathroom was wonderful!


  4. we talked about going out to dinner last night because we were too tired to shop and cook, but i decided that this wasn’t a reason to eat out…that eating out could and should be something special. so we stayed home and i grilled steaks. I was so proud of myself afterwards. I’m digging doin’ with less.
    thanks for that.

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