If you’re anything like me you’ve probably experienced that split second of hesitation right before making your milk tea purchase. You take a moment to think: Wait, do I really need this? Can this money be spent somewhere better? Even if you’ve never personally felt that uncertainty before you’ve still most likely heard at least one baby boomer question your choices and go “if you didn’t spend so much on that milk tea fad you could probably afford a car/house/child by now.”
So the first thing to do is figure out how much that little splurge actually costs. Let’s say the average cost of a milk tea drink is Php 150 per cup. You typically have 1 order a day so that would be Php 1,050 a week. In a year that would amount to Php 54,750 or Php 54,900 on leap years. Multiply that by five years and you get Php 273,750, while in ten it becomes Php 547,500.
Factually, that does add up to quite a bit of money. Sure, you could put that amount into getting a car, earning a master’s degree, or saving up for a house. But the little splurge goes a long way in making life a little more bearable.
For those of you who think I’m being dramatic, bear with me a little and understand that this is actually based on theories of psychology. The Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, which is an assessment created by Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo, explores the human valuation of time and how it affects the choices we make. There are 5 results you could get in terms of how you appreciate time: present-oriented, present-hedonistic, present-fatalistic, future-oriented, and past-oriented. Zimbardo posits that the ‘healthiest’ orientation to possess toes the line between focusing on the future and approaching the present hedonistically.
To Zimbardo, life should be approached with a balance between setting goals for yourself and indulging your guilty pleasures. Life is incomplete (and a bit dreary) without that healthy dose of hedonism. So guess what — that daily order of milk tea perfectly fits the mold of ‘healthy hedonism’.
We need those doses of hedonism to give us that break, that breath of fresh air in an otherwise monotonous routine. It’s the small source of comfort we allow ourselves when we’re forced to clock in extra hours at work, when we have a big test to study for, or when our family drama is reaching its peak. The Php 150 you spend is put towards taking a sip and thinking: this isn’t so bad after all.
Giving into that cup of milk tea is more than just getting a much-needed sugar fix or playing into the latest trend. It’s a small pat on the back for a job well done or a pick-me-up at the end of a horrifically long day. It can be an incentive for making it out alive each and every day or it can be that small luxury which you reward yourself with.
The significance of small luxuries is that they’re more sustainable as well. Realistically speaking, treating yourself out to dinner every night or going on weekly shopping sprees just won’t work out for your paycheck. To be quite honest, it will probably just make you more stressed in the long run. So you need to strike that balance between splurges and sustainability. You need that healthy dose of hedonism in a form which is readily accessible to you because otherwise, it fails to fulfill its purpose.
So take that daily order of milk tea and let it help you get through all those big (or small) inconveniences of life. At the end of the day, the few hundred pesos you spend on milk tea a week ends up less valuable than the ease to burnout. It’s an affordable enough reminder that the small things can still make a big difference in our (sometimes) unsatisfactory lives.
What’s your small guilty pleasure that you allow yourself as a reward?