If there's anything I've learned in my many years on this planet, it's that I don't need to practice complaining. I have the black belt (and wrinkles) to prove it.

Still, it kind of drives me crazy when things don't happen as I plan them to, like with parades and chocolate fountains. It's just that I keep on forgetting that adults do things differently than us seven-and-a-half-year-olds do. (I've adopted my shoe size as my age to encourage more interesting party themes.)

Sure, maybe pom-poms aren't necessary (or appropriate) during certain occasions, but I'd much rather be the one to decide, rather than someone else out there, be it "them," "the man" or "the powers that be."

Perhaps all this talk of economizing has us reigning in too much. No, I'm not advocating cashing out your retirement savings and hopping over to Vegas, but maybe, just maybe, we can be more generous with ourselves.

It could be as simple as planting some seeds indoors so that you have some fresh herbs for your kitchen. Or picking up the phone and dialing long-distance (or do it over the Internet) to chat up with a pal. Or buying the cushy tissues because you feel like your nose is going to fall off and you're totally worth the extra 85 cents. Just see if you can get a coupon for it at the store. ;)

You see, if we master being generous with our time, ideas and compassion in small ways, it'll prepare us for those times when it might be the only thing we have going for us at the time.

Is there a little way you reward yourself or others that has a big impact?

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