April 18, 2023

8 Cheap Thrills that Allow me to live a Happy & Fulfilling Life.


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*Warning: much-needed strong language ahead!

Recently, I was muddling my way through a bunch of profound quotes by humans far more evolved than I will ever be and looking through a bunch of listicles on how best to lead a fulfilling and happy life, and then I thought…fuck it.

Sometimes it feels like wanting to be at peace and lead a fulfilling life is a lot of hard work.

Not that I’m not willing to do what’s needed. I mean, I am doing it for myself and for my own well-being, but sometimes the heart just wants to do something silly and stupid and get some cheap thrills that make us feel better—at least for the moment.

Cheap thrills make us feel like we’re truly living in the moment and making our present better instead of wanting to better ourselves from the inside out so we can lead a more peaceful life in the future.

Merriam-Webster defines cheap thrills as “a minor thing done for entertainment,” while Urban Dictionary defines it as “doing something that only provides short enjoyment.” I did a quick deep dive online and found that some of the more common cheap thrills are jumping in puddles, getting wet in the rain, watching a beautiful sunset, playing arcade games at your local mall (even though you’re in your mid-40s), eating pizza, and mimicking people for a laugh.

That got me thinking. What are my cheap thrills? I started considering things I already do that provide enjoyment in the immediate present, and realized that unbeknownst to me, I partake in a lot of cheap thrills on a daily basis without even realizing it.

These are just a fraction of the cheap thrills that make my life peaceful, happy, and full of fun:

Using swear words in general, but using “fuck” in particular

I cannot tell you how incredibly satisfying it is for me to say “Fuck off!” or any variation of that phrase. I use it more than I should. But I feel a visceral body change when I do. It feels like a literal weight is falling off my body, so I toss it out into the world and feel so much lighter.

In case you’re thinking how crass and rude I am, well have two words for you: Fuck off.

Getting something/anything for free

From getting a free airplane ride with rewards points I have accumulated to getting a tacky plastic bottle with sugar-free cola with my McDonald’s free meal, I get such a thrill when I get anything for free. And while I gratefully accept coupons that give me a certain percentage off any product, that doesn’t give me cheap thrills. I am unimpressed by 30 percent off on a product that costs $100, which I now get for $70. Yep, grateful but unmoved.

But when I get a tacky key chain costing less than a dollar from a Greek travel agent for signing up to tour the Acropolis? You should see the stupid grin on my face. It would give the Joker a complex.


Yes. Call me a freak. Or someone who suffers from extreme OCD. But nothing—absolutely nothing—gives me more pleasure than a good cleaning session of my house, my office, my desk, my bathroom, my kitchen, my neighbor’s kitchen, the common reception area of the condo where I live, and more.

Remember “Friends”? And more specifically Monica from “Friends”? That’s me. If I could, I would carry cleaning supplies with me all the time and clean whatever needs to be cleaned.

When I posted about my cleaning fetish on Facebook a few months back, a bunch of social media friends whom I have never met in real life invited me over to their homes to clean them. For a second, I almost agreed.

Creating the perfect password for online transactions

Oh, the thrill of coming up with that perfect password that includes a symbol, a number, and a bunch of letters. The last time I changed my password for one of my online bank accounts, the system said my password was “Very Strong.” I did my imitation of the Joker that entire day.

Altering clothes for the perfect fit

This is less of a cheap thrill and more of an acquired skill but I still get such a high off of it. These days, I’m shopping for clothes online and inevitably there are size and fit issues. While I wear a size small, I now order size medium or large (since there is no standard size small that is the same across brands) and then sit with my sewing machine and alter them. What a thrill when I am able to wear something that is perfectly fitted to my body!

Waking before the alarm goes off

Nothing, and I repeat, nothing is more awful than setting your alarm for the next day and for the damn thing to go off when you’re still deep in your sleep cycle and can barely open your eyes. But, occasionally, I will have a well-rested night and wake up some 30 minutes before the alarm goes off. Oh, those 30 bonus minutes that I get just to snuggle inside my bed? To know that I had a good night’s sleep and still have extra 30 time before the new day starts? Well, that’s a priceless cheap thrill.

Eating the worst-for-your-health but best-for-your-spirit junk food

Don’t even get me started on my love—nay—adoration of junk food. Pizza, French fries, burgers, ketchup, oily fried Indian snacks, cakes, ice cream, Indian desserts where even a spoonful of one is 500 calories…ugh! Nothing is more fun than eating junk food that you shouldn’t.

Among my top five questions to God (if he or she exists) would be to ask why food items that are one step from attaining nirvana are filled with thousands of calories and food that you wouldn’t feed your friendly neighborhood pest are “good” for you. And I’ll ask this as I bite into my sixth slice of gooey, cheese-oozing pizza.

Calling someone “donkey”

I was recently told by someone I really respect that I have too much of a potty mouth and I need to cut out the f-bombs that I toss around with seeming nonchalance every two seconds. Which I do. They are right about that. “Why don’t you put the same effort into a word that is not quite so strong but give it your all?” they asked me.

Challenge accepted.

And that’s how I came up with “donkey.” Poor animal. I have nothing against a donkey. In fact, donkeys and I have a lot in common. We both work long and hard and bray for what passes as sound. But I found that calling someone a donkey is extremely gratifying. Not quite like the f-word, mind you! But saying something like, “Bro! You’re such a donkey!” Yeah. I like it. I like it a lot

So, y’all, that’s my list of cheap thrills—things that cost nothing, or almost nothing, but help me live a happy and fulfilled life in the present moment.

What about you? Share your cheap thrills in the comments below!


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