With this in mind, I've compiled a list of standards I like to keep in mind in my everyday life. I call it my Life's Too Short list.
Life's too short to always cheap out: Frugality definitely has its place. I can't tell the difference between store brand and name brand spaghetti. I am very happy with the quality of my Joe Fresh cotton t-shirts, so paying triple for Banana Republic doesn't make sense to me. But there are some areas where saving money for the sake of it just adds irritation to my life. Shoes that make my feet hurt or ruin my knees are not worth the $20, $50 or $100 I saved by buying them. Pens that are so cheap they explode all over my hands cost me precious time as I scrub off the ink and search around the house, irritated and cranky, for a non-exploding pen. Small luxuries go a long way.
Life's too short to eat uninspired meals: On average, we eat just over 1000 meals a year. That's not really all that much, so we should be making every one count. We all like a fast-food burger from time to time, and that's fine. But fueling up every night on frozen TV dinners, fat-free "ice cream" and processed junk is just a waste of a good opportunity. We can't live without food. Eating is one of the very few pleasurable experiences in life that's actually necessary. I'm taking advantage of that and making sure my meals are still mostly good for me, but also delicious. I may never achieve rock-hard abs, but I'm betting I won't lay on my deathbed wishing I had either.
Life's too short to wear uncomfortable clothes: Certain TV style gurus will have you believe that "comfort" is a dirty word. I beg to differ. I am no fashionista, but I'm interested enough in fashion to read the (ridiculous) magazines and follow some awesome style blogs for ideas. I wouldn't leave the house in my pyjamas or go shopping in baggy sweats. But no matter how fashionable, cute or perfect-for-me an article of clothing might be, if it has itchy tags, rides up, is made of scratchy fabric or is too tight, it stays at the store. Constantly tugging at your clothes, wiggling around in discomfort and pulling at wedgies is a sure way of taking that confident feeling of wearing something great and turning it into a fashion faux pas.
Life's too short to watch mediocre TV: When I was a student, I'd often find myself plonked in front of the TV in the middle of the afternoon, goggling in horror as some fool, wearing the acid-wash and slicked-back mullet he usually reserved for church, took his rightful place on Jerry Springer's stage to inform his wife of 4 weeks, in the most inappropriate way possible, that he'd been having an affair in the back seat of his 1983 Camaro with her sister. And also her mom. And I wouldn't change the channel until all the chairs they were sitting on had been thrown at each other, and Jerry had capped the whole thing off with some melodramatic words of redneck wisdom. I dread to think how many hours of my life I lost taking in that rubbish. These days I choose very carefully the TV that gets my time and attention, and this is obviously a personal opinion issue that would be different for everyone. For me, the silver lining in Charlie Sheen's abrupt return to rehab is that one of the most overhyped and unfunny shows on television is on indefinite hiatus. Give me a good HBO drama any day of the week.
The economy is still pretty lousy, and that can make it hard to remember that there are things in life that should sometimes take precedence over the rat race that is the basic fight for survival. Having a Life's Too Short list reminds me that I can't put a price on my time.
What's on your Life's Too Short list?