My word of focus for 2021 was “Luxurious.” It wasn’t a necessarily noble choice, but after a challenging 2020, I was ready to indulge.
When I shared my word of the year with friends, I remember following it with all kinds of disclaimers, assuring them that I wouldn’t turn into a jerk or start wearing furs or anything blingy.
But I aimed to treat myself. Not because I’m better than anyone else. But because I was worthy, as are you.
And so, for twelve months, I pushed outside of my comfort zone of “that’s fine” and “good enough” and challenged myself to honor my preferences. Here’s what I did, and what I bought during my year of luxury:
The Do Not Disturb Button
I’m not going to bury the lede here. Utilizing this little button on my phone was the most impactful change I made last year. With one little slide and click, I took back my time. I stopped allowing notifications, pings, dings, and buzzes. If there was an interruption, it was because I made the choice to look at my phone (a choice I still make quite often), and not because somebody else demanded my attention.
iOS offers many customizations to make the experience best for your situation if you want to give it a try!
In a perfect example of good things coming from bad situations, our beach closed for a short period in 2020. We were devastated. The beach is an extension of our neighborhood, and it felt like we lost a part of our daily peace.
But during that time, we experimented with new walking routes, exploring other sections of our neighborhood. By the time the beaches reopened, we had established a new 3+ mile route that takes us through our favorite part of the neighborhood and ends on the beach.
In 2021, we cemented that new longer route as our daily routine. It became our time to get fresh air, catch up, and connect no matter what was happening. It is a precious ritual, and I can’t think of anything more luxurious than that time that Jimmy and I have together.
Daily Weight Training
2021 was the year that I stopped saying “I’m not athletic” and began to identify as “strong.” My friend Cara recommended a trainer named Heather Robertson, who shares a massive collection of workouts on her YouTube Channel for free.
For twelve months, I streamed Heather’s workouts on the tv in my office, nearly every day that I was home.
My physical activity amounted to almost two hours every day between our walks and my workouts. I realize that giving up that time is not a luxury that most can afford, but I have the space in this season of life, and I decided to honor it.
Miroco Milk Frother
While this was a 2020 purchase, 2021 became the year I couldn’t live without my milk frother. An essential part of my morning routine, I even considered packing it when we visited our parents over the summer. I left it behind but did bring along my creamer of choice: NutPods. Cinnamon Swirl is my favorite!
Rent the Runway Subscription
This investment in my wardrobe was undoubtedly the star of my year of luxury.
I opted in for the 8-item plan, giving me access to a catalog of high-quality clothing, bags, and jewelry that were far above the standard of what I would typically wear. I mostly stayed with my style, but it gave me license to experiment with some fun choices like the dress you see above.
I didn’t let the fact that I work from home deter me from signing up for the service but instead found more opportunities to make everyday life special—be it going out for a drink on a weeknight or an impromptu video chat with my family.
If you’d like to feel more confident in your appearance this year and want to give Rent the Runway a try, you can use my coupon code RTRFAM592B5AE to save 40% off of an eight or 16-item plan for your first two months of membership.
This code isn’t an affiliate link, but if you use it to sign up, it unlocks some extra outfits for me, which means savings for you, and allows me to share more posts like this.
I’m too impatient to spend a day at the spa, but the few times I’ve been, my favorite part of the experience has been the showers. I love all of the products that are made available, particularly the body scrubs.
I used to pick them up to use at home occasionally, but it always felt too indulgent. This year, I let go of that. Body scrubs are now an essential part of my showering experience, and my skin has never been smoother.
I’m not particularly brand loyal, and I pick whatever smells good, typically something with vanilla for the winter/fall and citrus for the spring/summer.
Fresh Parmesan Cheese
I realize this is quite a bizarre luxury item, but it has made all the difference. Never again will I purchase that cylinder of powdery white cheese again. You know the one I mean. The kind that gets all clumpy in its container.
Cooking is sacred. It’s an art form; it’s family, it’s love. It costs a little bit more to get a wedge of Parmesan, and it takes a little bit longer to hand grate it over your dish.
But those extra dollars and extra minutes feel like I’m saying to my meal, “I care.” And it makes everything taste that much better.
This item materialized off of my vision board most beautifully after I had the opportunity to work with Stocklane and Delsey in a photo shoot last summer.
As we were shooting, I kept saying to my friend Muriel, “I want to be this person who wears pretty dresses and goes on fabulous trips and owns this suitcase.”
“But Michelle,” she said to me, “you are that person.”
Delsey gifted me the suitcase after our shoot.
Lessons in Luxury
This year taught me that the greatest indulgence is time. While there are material items on my list, none are more important than the hours I took back by taking control of my phone’s notifications, or the investment into my physical health, or the time that my husband and I spend together on our daily walks.
The irony in choosing this word is that this year was financially stressful for my family. My husband lost his job in the summer of 2020 during Covid layoffs and could not find another position until the end of 2021. My biggest client cut back on my projects. Course enrollments were down. Web traffic declined.
Yet, I maintained that our lives were rich because we still had so much. Luxury is not a luxury. It’s a choice.
2022 Word of the Year
“Luxurious” taught me to be mindful of my worth, and I couldn’t think of a better word to lead my thoughts and actions in the new year.
“Worth,” my 2022 word, will remind me that I am worthy of receiving and experiencing all that brings me joy. It will prompt me to question, “Is this worth it?” And it will help me to encourage my friends, family, and community to see the worth inside of them.
The best is yet to come
What word will you take with you into 2022? And how will it change your life for the better?
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Images 1, 2, and 8 by Stocklane