Small moments, big memories

“Eat the cookie, buy the shoes. Give yourself permission to lighten up.” —Joyce Meyer

I spent $18 on four cupcakes. It hurts to admit. But what do you do when you’re on vacation and wander into a cool hipster cupcake shop with exposed brick walls and open doors?

Practice self control? Sure.

Actually the entire area surrounding the bakery was cool hipster and we bought right into it. We followed brick walkways from bookstores to art galleries to underground shops with incense rooms and glass shelves filled with eclectic marble elephants and miniature glass figurines.

But those cupcakes. The confection quad laced with candy rainbows, salted caramel, butter cream and cookies, proof of my weakness under temptation.

I carried around a load of guilt after that purchase. Guilt for the price. Guilt for the sugar content. Guilt for the fact we intended to buy three until the saleswoman sweetly pointed out there was an empty spot in the four-holed carrier.

We all turned to the red velvet. And then there were four. Devil woman.

I’ve overspent before, goodness knows. But this pack of cupcakes settled into my conscience. Even after we downed a couple back in the hotel room and confirmed their goodness, I couldn’t shake the guilt.

I remember reading an article once about things life is too short to worry about. I don’t recall them all but a few linger in my memory: Money. The past. Mistakes. The small stuff. The price tag.

This article, I have decided, is clearly telling me to get over it. Let go of the guilt trip. Embrace the cake. Eat the red velvet one when the kids aren’t looking.

It’s too easy to feel guilty over the small stuff.

There’s this thing called the 80/20 rule. I first saw it in terms of economics and business. It kept popping back up, which tells me I need to pay attention. The concept is that 80 percent of a result comes from 20 percent of an action. In businesses, things like 20 percent of sales reps bring in 80 percent of the sales, 20 percent of customers bring in 80 percent of business.

I’ve also read it applies in relationships, where even if a whopping 80 percent of your partner’s characteristics are fantastic, the other 20 percent is the focus and analyzed with a microscope.

It seems this idea could also mean the smallest percentage of anything we do offers the biggest return. Every day. And on vacation.

A lot of my family’s first day out on our road trip was literally on the road, driving. Then time waiting in line for the parking garage, unloading, checking in, waiting for shuttles, and all the rest that compile a means to an end.

But there are a few hours in there when time got lost, in a good way. They may equal the least amount of measurable time, but they’re the best parts.

Compact, filling, and if you’re lucky, delicious.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ven­tures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree­press.com.