I am writing this column sitting in the sun on my balcony while my little boy is taking his afternoon nap. There’s a fresh breeze today coming from the mountains. On the table: nothing but my laptop, a bowl of sweet strawberries for a snack and a glass of water. Nothing fancy but for some reason this delicious simplicity surrounding me gives me a sense of luxury and happiness that I can’t explain.
The more I reflect on this, the more I realize how much simpler yet luxurious my life is now than it was about 5 years ago when I was still living in Amsterdam. It seems like a paradox considering what I gave up there to start a new life in Alanya. But it’s not. It all makes sense once you understand that the truest definition of success lies in finding your own happiness. Knowing what living a happy life looks like to you and being able to pursue it, is what I call a real luxury.
As a society we seem to be redefining luxury. We are shifting away from wanting things to wanting experiences. We don’t necessarily want to own luxury but we want to experience it. This is becoming very visible in our social media networks where thousands and thousands of pictures are being uploaded every single day of people sharing their personal experiences. It can be anything from a colourful cocktail on a tropical beach to dinner with friends or a bouquet of pretty flowers. Luxury is hiding in all the daily details and it’s up to us to transform everyday life moments into something special. You can gulp down your hot morning coffee in a hurry on the way to work or you can take a few minutes to enjoy a really good coffee, with perfect foam, savoring its aroma, drinking it from your favorite mug.
In our busy modern day lives, anything getting close to enjoying the good and simple life is called a luxury. It can be taking a dive into the sea after work, biting into a freshly picked tomato still warm from the sun, a pretty cupcake or taking a road trip along the coast for a few days. It’s interesting how this notion has turned the concept of luxury into something surprisingly inclusive and often inexpensive as opposed to the old definition of luxury, which was rather exclusive and only given to a few who could afford it. The fact that luxury is now much more ‘makeable’ and affordable to a bigger crowd than it used to be might be an alarming development for the elite of older generations, but it’s definitely good news for everyone else.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we no longer want to have nice things: a great car, a beautiful apartment, a pool in the garden and the newest gadget. These things probably will forever be wanna-haves to most people. However many of us no longer accept to live an overscheduled, overworked life in order to get those things. We do not want to sacrifice our personal well-being, a chance to travel, discovering, adventure and quality time for it. Defining luxury only by what car you drive or the brands you wear has become too superficial and incredibly boring too, if you ask me. It just doesn’t cover it anymore, especially if you need to compromise your personal happiness for it.
I saw this quote online once, it’s from Leontyne Price, it said: ‘the ultimate of being successful is the luxury of giving yourself the time to do what you want to do’.
Beautiful words to live by.
Katharina Lundgreen-Bayar lives in Alanya with her husband Bülent and son Ilyas. In her popular blog Canım Benim (‘My Life’) she writes about Living and Loving her life in Alanya, Turkey. In her columns for Hello Alanya Magazine she shares her thoughts and tells about what is keeping her busy in her daily life.
Published in Hello Alanya Magazine May 2015