May 6, 2020
I first came across Living the Simply Luxurious Life in 2018 and since then, I have been itching to write a review about it on my blog. Life has changed in so many ways since then and in every change, I found myself going back to reading Shannen Ables’ books, as well as listening to her podcasts, to remind me of my true north.
The world’s current events, as well as certain changes in my personal life, have encouraged me all the more to go back to my roots, to dig deep into the desires of my heart, and to further pursue things that bring my joy.
Even as a child, books have always brought me great joy and this is the reason why I am starting this Book Review series on my blog. My blog has been around since high school and for the longest time, it has depicted the story of my life. But now as an almost 32-year-old, I have come to realize (with the books’ guidance) that maybe somethings are best kept private. Also, there is enough noise in the world and so in my own little way, I share what I love in the hopes that it helps inspire another or at the very least, help them find the next exciting read. And while my blog will not be entirely just about books, it would definitely be a big part of it.
In honor of the beginning of this series, I am reposting the book review I wrote about Living the Simply Luxurious Life and Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life. This article was first published on the Thought Junkie on the Manila Times in September 2019.
“Living a luxurious life does not require large amounts of money. What it does require is good decision making, a never-ending quest for knowledge, and the ability to live authentically and not be led around by the nose.” – Shannon Ables”
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” – Coco Chanel
My first job was in the fashion world at the ripe age of 19. My first boss exemplified the life I have always dreamed of after watching too many chick flicks – she was a jet-setting, female boss who had the most beautiful clothes, the most intricate jewelry pieces, the most gorgeous designer handbags, and of course along with it, a charming face that could open doors like no other.
In my naïve mind, she was living the dream life! It was a life that I based the next years of my career on – I wanted the jet-setting lifestyle, I wanted the designer handbags, and tried to diet my way into looking “charming.” It’s been nearly 13 years since then (yep, time flies) and here I am at 31, savoring a cup of coffee while devouring yet another set of books.
It’s safe to say, and thank God for it, I am no longer who I was when I was 19. I can only laugh at the naïveté of my 19-year-old self. I admired what the woman had without realizing what it cost – late nights, missed family dinners and occasions, and even good health.
I only saw what she chose to showcase to the world without realizing that everything achieved in life required sacrifices and choices. You sacrifice for the life you want and so it is important to recognize what you want your life to be.
We cannot ebb through life making choices based on external factors because one day, we will wake up with an empty life, one made purely from the choices of other people.
I can only laugh at the way my 19-year-old self viewed life and often pat her on the back for her grit, tenacity, and unwillingness to quit (after all, it is her tenacity that has gotten me to where I am). And I do feel like the 13 years of my journey has given me the tools that I need to curate the life that I’ve always dreamed of – a simply luxurious one but not luxury in the way the world defines it.
Traversing into my mid-20s has always been confusing for me, as it would be for everyone else during this period. I wanted to continue to be in the industry that I was in but didn’t want to be caught up in the trappings of it.
As I grew older, I find myself no longer basking in ostentatious things but rather liking things of quality. I liked my quiet and introversion but felt that the world required you to be seen and connected in order to be successful.
My happiness dating to about a year ago was one that could be likened to processed things – sweet and beautiful (and sometimes expensive) on the outside but lacking depth on the inside.
Today, my happiness, or rather my joy is more profound – you can barely see its markers from the outside but I feel it deep in my soul it is this quiet contentment that gets me through ever-changing seasons of life.
The creation of this life coincided with my curiosity to borrow the books Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life and Living the Simply Luxurious Life by Shannon Ables from the library.
In it, Ms. Ables spoke of how we can live a rich and fulfilling life that is separate from our financial assets and income. She quietly lives her life the way she chooses, and it has given her great joy. She encourages her readers to cultivate a life of quality and routine – one that doesn’t leave one burned out and angry but one that is quiet, comfortable, and extraordinary.
She bravely encourages her readers to believe that each day can be extraordinary if we make it the way we’ve always dreamed – and this life is different for everyone and cannot be defined by the things we acquire.
She also boldly tells her readers to live within their means because this helps breed the extraordinary life. When one lives within their means, they do not have to work constantly to pay off what they unnecessarily owe.
Reading her books and listening to her podcasts allow one to just shake off the tension of wanting to be seen and shifting it to just being.
True luxury is having the comfort to a life that is not hurried and not stewing in anxiety or worries and though there are many things we cannot control in this life, there are ALSO many ways we can choose to cultivate the simply luxurious life that we have always wanted.