These past few weeks I have been uncharacteristically self-indulgent. I went about adding to wardrobe with items that I didn't need. Sports Authority had a 20% off coupon in their flier so I got a fishing vest, perceiving a need for the vest's pockets more than as a clothing item. Since the rods were on clearance for 50% off I got one of those as well, then on a stop at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center on I-95 I picked up a brochure that the Commonwealth assembled for people who are new to fishing. I only had one Phillies hat so I bought another. After my platelet donation instead of returning home I took a back road to Lancaster, enjoying the scenery and getting a couple more pairs of good shoes. This upcoming weekend I have my monthly outing and next weekend I travel to Houston for the annual Endocrine Society Meeting.
I've taken no time off from work, in fact going to see patients last Sunday at the expense of other useful activities to upgrade my home and organize my finances which I had intended to do. I will have skipped shul three consecutive shabbatot along with the Annual Meeting, feeling in no way deprived with a diminishing sense of obligation to be there when I could be doing something else instead, provided the something else has value. And I skipped the local Greek and Italian Festivals this year.
Over a long time I've become scripted distinguish what I need from what I want. I still have what I need and then some. A certain amount of ME TIME probably falls into the category of need, which the monthly outings have fulfilled quite well. The productive activity at work probably falls into the category of need. Fishing does not but there may be a place for it. Shul seems to be declaring itself as not, but there remains a place for it.