I bought a shower curtain.

I know, I know-big deal right?  Its not really, not a big deal at all.  Since we moved to Maryland, money’s been super tight (what with the house still being on the market and all that goes along with it…) so when we moved into our new house I held off on a lot of items that weren’t absolute necessities.  You still feel like money is pouring out of your pockets every time you go to the store, but I was real careful about only buying essentials.  New shower curtains fell on the “non-essential” list.  I mean, I put up those plastic liners of course, but a pretty, decorative shower curtain is definitely not a have-to-have.

It’s been good, really, thinking more about what I buy.  I’ve been so much more intentional when I go grocery shopping, and have clarified a lot of my own wants/needs and been pretty consistent with not splurging, even on something that’s only a few dollars.  I used to think “Shoot, it’s only like $3” and throw it in the cart.  But three dollar items add up over time, so I’ve tightened things up, and its been good.  I’ve thought much more about my stuff and what I can live without.  Combine that with working and actually needing those hourly dollars I’m bringing home–“What, that’s worth like, 3 hours of work!  No way!”–I’ve been very cognizant of the value of “things.”

None of this to say I can’t WAIT for the house to sell and not have to be so anxious about every penny going out the door.  I will be very, very happy on that day.

But last week I bought a shower curtain for our main bathroom.  I had some Amazon points so it didn’t really cost much.  It’s fabric.  It has different colored polka dots.  And it makes me happy.

I know, it’s stupid.  It’s a shower curtain.  But it matches the bathroom perfectly and it makes it look more complete and it’s just more fun than the plain liner sitting there.

I am aware how shallow this sounds.

But every time I walk past or into the bathroom since yesterday it gives me a little pick me up.

Because, contrary to what you’ve always been told, money can buy happiness.

Oh, of course, it’s just temporary happiness.  But isn’t all happiness pretty temporary?  And I’m aware that people without money can find happiness in their days without new shower curtains or any of the other trappings of a materialistic society such as ours.  But I don’t live there.  I live in America, I’m not destitute, and my new shower curtain makes me feel happy.

Just like my favorite sweater I bought at Target last year.  Or my new Under Armour hoodie.  And my favorite pair of jeans that I just had to buy again on ebay because that’s the only place I can find them and they came in the mail and that’s happy.  Or the almond honey sugar scrub that I totally do not need but it smells divine and feels really good and makes me feel a little bit pampered when I use it.  It makes me happy.  Even if its for 30 seconds.  And what’s wrong with that?  I’ll take all the happy I can get, thank you very much.

My body wash scent is called “A Touch of Happiness.”  Frankly, I think that’s a stupid name for a body wash.  Not very ambitious.  “We’re not going to claim to give you absolute happiness, complete happiness, or eternal happiness.  No, no–you can just expect a touch of happiness when you use our body wash!”  

But sometimes a touch of happiness is really all you need.  And no, I know you don’t have to buy it.  Sometimes it can be just seeing that cool hawk that sometimes frequents our backyard, sitting regally up there on the top of that pine tree.  Or the way the sunlight comes in the windows of our house in the late afternoon.  Or hot, good smelling clean clothes fresh out of the dryer.  Those are all happy things that don’t really cost you anything.  And if you’ve been having a lousy day or week or year, sometimes it is those little things that help you make it through, even for just a few more minutes.

But sometimes money can buy you that happiness.  It can buy a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha for you and a friend.  Or a new shower curtain.  Or gas so you can go visit your favorite family member far away.  Or a pedicure.  Those things are happy.  And they’re not free.  And sometimes you just need one of them to get you through a world with a lot of unhappiness.

But just a touch.  No need to go overboard.  And of course people do.  They suddenly believe that if they just keep getting that touch of happiness overandoverandoverandover again that maybe it’ll keep the unhappiness at bay.  This is why we have “Hoarders”.  Thankfully I think most of us know that happiness-free or purchased-is only temporary and isn’t going to last.  But it’s nice to enjoy it while it’s here.

I guess that’s why we need heaven someday.  I’m hoping for more than a touch of happiness in that case.  And happiness that won’t need to be replenished.  But for now, I will enjoy my shower curtain.  And this nice cup of coffee.  And my new jeans that came in the mail.  And the 4 books I got from the library.  Because they make me happy.