Thursday, August 05, 2010

Don't Save the Good Stuff

Growing up, we didn't have guest china and everyday china. We had one set. My Father purchased it at Harrods of London on a trip to Europe and hand carried the precious (and crushingly heavy) boxes back on the plane. The dishes were beautiful- white porcelain with delicate gold edges, sumptuously decorated with plums, grapes, peaches and berries. It was special stuff, but my parents didn't save it for special occasions or company. We used our fancy European china for cheerios and fillet mignon alike.

I think this is a healthy attitude to cultivate. If you love something, it is your duty to enjoy it. There is a contradictory idea that says If you love something, it is your duty to keep it safe. You don't want your prized china to break or chip, so you lock it up in a cupboard and only take it out for Christmas dinner.

When you lock something up in the cupboard, or leave it only for guests to use, you are saying to yourself either "I'm not good enough to use that." or "I'm afraid I will ruin it." or "Someday there will be a moment to use that, but it isn't today. " I think all of these ideas are nonsense. Let's tackle them one at a time.

"I'm not good enough to use that."

Um, yeah you are. You are full of memories, thoughts and hopes that are totally unique to you out of all the people on the planet earth. You are special and worthy of all of the pleasures that life has to offer. Don't turn all that down because of unfounded insecurities. The dishes are a metaphor for something much bigger.

As a side note, If it doesn't fit with your life, or intimidates you, pitch it. You own your possessions, not the other way around.

"I'm afraid I will ruin it."

When I was little, I broke my mother's crystal vase. I can't remember the circumstances (why was I playing with a vase?), but I do remember feeling nauseated with fear and worry. I was terrified of her reaction. I felt sure she'd be furious. When she discovered the shattered remnants, she frowned. I could tell she was disappointed. But then she sighed and said "Ah well. It's just stuff." and I was flooded with relief.

Stuff is just stuff. Someday you'll die and you can't take stuff with you, so you'd better enjoy it while you can. Yes, your china might chip when you use it everyday. But you gave it that chip while letting it fulfill it's intended purpose. Something that wears out because you have enjoyed it is much easier to let go of precisely because you got use from it. If you take that dish out of the china cupboard and it slips from your fingers and smashes on the floor on Christmas day, think how heartbroken you'd feel- you'd only used it twice before! But if you've enjoyed it day after day, you can shrug and say "It's just stuff."

"Someday there will be a moment to use that, but it isn't today. "

So here's the thing- you've can create special moments anytime you like. Pleasure isn't something you need to hoard. The more you practice enjoying it, the more it will flood into your life. If, on the other hand you treat pleasure and enjoyment as distant and fleeting, they will continue to be exactly that. Don't wait for some distant moment to enjoy the things you love that are right here now. Fill up that plate and dig in.


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love pretty things...but what I find myself saving for special are my clothes! lol I buy pretty outfits but then I don't wear them! I'm SICK! ♥

chel said...

I feel like this about my art supplies- I never want to use them because I feel like what I make out of them isn't good enough. I struggle with that EVERY day :( Thank you for the encouragement!

ArtSnark said...

too true. I recently came across a stash of good stuff I'd boxed up once I had a kid. Better to just use it & celebrate the little things

home furnishings said...

thanks, now I am thinking of taking out my precious dinner set which was a gift from my brother. All the years I have been afraid of using it, but not using it, made me guilty as well. I will use it now for sure.

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