Ever feel as if you don’t have a minute between activities to catch your breath?  If you consider yourself to be too busy and you long for a less frantic pace, you may need to work on cultivating some Creative Deprivation.

I first read of this concept of “Creative Deprivation” in Amy Dacyczyn’s Complete Tightwad Gazette.  If you were to read The Complete Tightwad Gazette now, you would probably notice that much of it is outdated, but there remain some nuggets of wisdom in that book that are universal and timeless.  This idea of Creative Deprivation is one of those nuggets.

The gist of Creative Deprivation is that we enjoy things and experiences more when there is some space between them.  Say what?  I mean that life is more enjoyable when events and activities are broken up by some down time.  New things are appreciated more when they are not too frequently received.

According to Amy Dacyczyn, creative deprivation is like a frame around a picture that sets it apart from the background of the wall.  When we have space around the events in our lives, we can anticipate coming events and enjoy memories of past events before rushing off to the next thing on our activity-packed planners.

We may think that the only way to satisfy our thirst for more stuff and more excitement is to buy bigger, better toys and to pack our schedules even fuller with fun activities, but actually the opposite is true.   

ID-10058484Amy Dacyczyn uses the example of buying ice cream cones for her six children.  Because ice cream cones are a special treat, they were satisfied with a junior size cone.

When they became dissatisfied with a small cone, did she begin buying them banana splits? Absolutely not!  She cut back on the frequency of ice cream treats until a junior ice cream cone was once again a special treat.

Personally, I know that junk food is one of those areas where Creative Deprivation is totally necessary.  A cookie always tastes better in February than it does in December because of the glut of Christmas cookies available then.

An lunch out with Grandpa is always more enjoyable after we’ve eaten our meals at home for a week or more.

Creative Deprivation helps me to enjoy life’s pleasures so much more!


How do you keep from becoming overwhelmed by over abundance in your life?