“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” ~ Mary Manin Morrissey
While I was at university I went to a babysitting job. The family owned and ran the canteen at my college, and worked long hours. They were incredibly proud of their new brick home, and invited me in as if I had arrived at Buckingham Palace.
Over the white shag-pile carpet lay thick plastic runners. Plastic slipcovers encased every piece of furniture in the lounge. It was the height of summer so I was offered a seat on a towel, placed on top of the plastic-covered and uncomfortable sofa. I drank my cold drink from a plastic cup and ate my cake off a chipped old plate, while admiring the china cabinet full of beautiful glassware and a pretty dinner service. It felt like a home no-one lived in. Or a home that they were care-taking for someone else.
All the ‘good’ things – the china, the furniture, the carpet – were being saved for a special occasion.
I wonder if they ever got used at all?
One thing I learned a long time ago is that life is short, and often unpredictable. Beautiful things are meant to be used, rather than languishing at the back of a cupboard or covered over.
If you have an expensive bottle of perfume, give yourself the pleasure of using it while it is still fresh.
Drink your tea from that beautiful cup.
Wear that gorgeous necklace of your Nan’s.
Be careful with precious things, but use them anyway. It is a natural law that some things will break or be damaged over time. That’s okay too. Don’t let fear stop you enjoying these things.
Serve dinner on the good plates, or create a reason to bring the special things out more often than just at Christmas or Thanksgiving. My grandmother used to bring out all the good china, silverware and glassware when we went there for dinner on a Saturday night. She’d decorate the dinner table with a lace tablecloth and blooms from the garden, light candles, and make the table look like the Queen herself was coming to dinner. Even though it was only us. And sometimes, because we were little, we were in our pyjamas…
Buy yourself flowers for no reason other than the glorious experience of being alive and able to appreciate beauty.
Let yourself live, surrounded by the things that give you pleasure and that make you happy.
Conversely, if it stresses you out to use the good china for fear you might break it – maybe sell it or give it away, and find yourself something you feel comfortable to use every day. Go find the perfect coffee mug, the pretty plates and bowls that can go straight in the dishwasher, the couch you can sink into at the end of the day.
Choose quality over quantity.
One of my favourite forms of recycling is buying from second-hand and thrift shops, garage sales and antique centres. It’s amazing what kinds of treasures you might find and give a new lease of life. Clothes, books, furniture, homewares, trinkets and jewels…
This week, ask yourself if you are truly using and appreciating what you have. If not now, when?
You deserve to live in your life now. Don’t save things for that mystical unnamed time in the future. Memories are made in the moment, and that’s where life is lived too. That mystical future moment might never come.
Make life a beautiful journey. Don’t keep your dreams and cherished possessions locked away in the cupboard. Live, and surround yourself with what soothes and uplifts you. The everyday deserves beauty and magic as much as a special occasion.