Once upon a time I imagined that I would become a “Fancy Lady” like in the movies. I’d wear ballgowns with quite a bit of regularity and drink champagne with breakfast and stroll around the grounds of my Fancy Castle. Very much the product of a Disney upbringing, this was further compounded during my university days, when Gossip Girl was a huge hit. I modified the dream a little bit so that instead of staying in my castle I would become an executive by day, with sleek power suits and killer heels. I even have a couple of Pinterest pages to still reflect these imagined personas.
However, after having being out of university for nearly ten years, and not having seen a princess movie or Gossip Girl in equally as long, I can tell you that I did not become a Fancy Person. I chose instead to become a Happy Person. Not that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive, but I believe in my case I could not be both.
Thanks to being a Happy Person (I’ll add in Frugal as well – one of my proudest adjectives about myself!) instead of Fancy, I can now claim the following:
- I can keep a small budget on many categories, particularly clothes and food
- I don’t feel pressured by the latest styles, trends, influencers, whatever. There is no interest there for me whatsoever
- I tend not to be obsessed with my own image. Most days I don’t wear any makeup at all; my nighttime skincare routine starts and stops with washing my face with a washcloth. I have never posted a selfie of just me, and in fact rarely post anything at all
- I get contentment from free or cheap activities, like playing soccer, hiking and going to the breweries
- I don’t really care what happens to my wardrobe as I engage in such activities (versus the times I tried to be fancy and wore VERY expensive cream coloured pants that I refused to relax in all day for fear of getting them dirty)
- My food choices veer towards the simple, healthy and plentiful, not to Fancy portions that are the size of a golf ball and cost more than a day’s wages
Now that I’ve covered all the reasons why I’m Happy and not Fancy, I’ll get to the point of the post. Last weekend I was forced to be Fancy. It was a friend’s surprise party at an incredibly swanky restaurant in downtown Vancouver. I’m talking not even being able to get in unless you look the part. The day before, as I looked through my closet, I realized with dismay that I actually would have to go out and buy something to wear for one specific occasion. I hate that feeling, it seems wasteful and unnecessary. Thankfully there was a huge sale at one of my favourite stores, and I managed to get something that was appropriate without breaking the bank. Some borrowed jewelry from my mom and sister completed it, and I managed to pass the part reasonably well.
The night was a smashing success. So many laughs and stories and new memories were formed. But reflecting upon it the following day my husband and I realized something. We had not even noticed the quality of the food (we both only had appetizers, both of which had cost over $40 EACH) and had consumed maybe four or five drinks, and yet we had paid over $300 on the restaurant bill. I know that this was for a good friend’s birthday, and I don’t regret it, but it does make me think about how much we can spend striving to look like. a certain part when that’s not necessarily who we are on the inside.
The fanciness of anywhere in no ways enhances the quality of the time spent with friends or family. In my group we have just as much, if not more, fun in places where we can let our hair down and not worry about breaking the bank on a single evening. I’m not putting down people that want to live this way, but I am wondering if it truly does bring them any contentment. I know I would much rather be stashing my money away for future plans rather than be putting additional costs on the credit card in order to look a certain way and go to certain places. I’ve realized that being a Happy Person does not require anything more than comfortable clothes, good friends, and a lot of money saved.
Fancy is fun to daydream about once in a while, but I would never in my life exchange my happiness for it.