Wonderful article in the National Post:

I do appreciate luxury. It’s just that luxury is in the eye and wallet of the beholder. Even rich people like value.

I was having a business lunch a few years ago at the restaurant in Barney’s, the upscale New York store, when the conversation at the next table caught my ear. Two elderly gentlemen were discussing the bill, who had what and how to split it scrupulously. My dining companion, a local, said the two were billionaires. They had the luxury of being comfortable divvying up the tab when the money involved was absolutely nothing to them.

Luxury to me — and to many others, I suspect — is being able to have the time, the space and, sometimes, a bit of extra money to do the things I want to do. It is also a pleasure not to do anything when I so please, to be a channel-surfing sofa yam. This is especially important in my retirement.

Luxury is about pleasure — about something above the ordinary, beyond the mundane. So luxury, for some, can be the thrill of conspicuous consumption, about buying that US$300,000 Bentley, those US$1,000 Manolo Blahnik shoes, that US$200,000 Algonquin Round Table dinner.

For others — the rich as well as well as those with more modest means — luxury can be having the means and ways to make a lifestyle choice to their liking: settling down with a good book on a winter’s afternoon; sitting on a patio on a warm summer day watching the world stroll by; going for a hike on a bright fall morning.