These days, when Jules Zucker has an errand to run, she tosses a Reese’s Fast Break candy bar in her bag.
“We live in an age where safety and ‘the great pleasures’, if you will, are not guaranteed at all,” she said. “So we only have to fall back on small conveniences. It’s almost a poor man’s hedonism.”
Ms. Zucker, a 26-year-old music coordinator living in Brooklyn, is just one of many people who have reimagined their lives to offer more little pleasures after two years of canceled plans and lowered expectations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tracy Llanera, 35, a philosophy professor at the University of Connecticut who studies nihilism, said this forward-thinking approach is one way people are reclaiming some of the freedom and stability lost since early 2020.
“During the Covid pandemic, the lack of control confirms that you suffer from existential nihilism,” said Ms Llanera.
Amid these feelings of constant helplessness and sadness, she said, people try to find consistent and reliable pleasures.
“Something about the treat culture is that you always get the treat on a regular basis,” she added. ‘At least you can rely on that. There is a guarantee that this little ritual you have every week will at least satiate something in you.
And while the pandemic has changed people’s spending and saving habits, it has also encouraged people to redefine what a treat means to themselves more often and more creatively. For example, daily walks have become a coping mechanism for many employees who no longer commute to the office.