I have a memory of being in around second grade, sitting in the school cafeteria. When I opened my lunch box, it contained a special treat my dad made for me. I remember that he got up extra early to make me this treat. What he had done was take an apple, and carved it up into the shape of a turkey. (It must’ve been around Thanksgiving.) He used peanut butter to hold the feathers in. (This was before every kid was allergic to peanuts.) It was unbelievably cute. In fact, I liked it so much that I “put it away for later.” It was so pretty, I didn’t want to eat it.
What happened to that apple peanut butter turkey? It went bad. I never ate it, because it was too pretty. I was saving it. Sometimes I still feel a bit guilty about wasting that food, and wonder, why didn’t I just eat it? I’ve done the same thing with the sugar flowers on cakes – saved them until they were a crumbled up mess rather than enjoying them. The reason I was like this as a kid is because my mom is a “save it for a special occasion” type. This is how I grew up. We never burned pretty candles, never wore our “good” clothes, coats, or shoes except for rare occasions, and saved everything for “later.” My mom still does these things. She has shelves full of candles covered in dust that are too pretty to burn. She won’t wear her new Burberry scarf when she’s just running to the grocery store because it’s “for nice occasions.”
Until about ten years ago, I still did this. It was so ingrained in me, I didn’t think twice about “saving things for later.” However, when I stopped and thought about it, it all seemed ridiculous. How many clothes did I outgrow after wearing them once, on a “special occasion” because I might “get them dirty” if I wore them otherwise? How many pretty things sat in my closet over the years waiting for a “special occasion”? How many cupcakes or Easter eggs didn’t get eaten because they were too pretty? It’s no fun to look at pretty clothes in the closet and never wear them. It’s no fun to be afraid to wear a white coat or white pants because you might get them dirty. It’s no fun to never burn that delicious smelling candle that is shaped like a dog. It’s no fun to be afraid of ruining a pair of shoes or a purse. It’s no fun to be so terrified of losing a bracelet that it never gets worn outside of the bedroom.
I mean, who cares if something gets ruined? Who cares if you have to buy a new candle? (In fact, using candles allows you to buy new candles without turning into a candle hoarder.) Who cares if something needs to be replaced?
I try to use everything I have now, and forget the “save it for a special occasion” mindset. I use my expensive perfumes and lotions whenever I feel like it – sometimes when I’m not even going out. I burn every candle I buy down to the nub. I carry whatever purse I want to carry, wear whatever shoes I want to wear, wear whatever clothes I want to wear, and don’t get upset if something gets scuffed or dirty. In fact, when I took one of my Louis Vuitton purses down into a gold mine in Colorado a few years back on vacation, some grease dripped on it. You know what? I didn’t care. I wasn’t devastated. Quite the opposite, in fact. Whenever I carry that bag now and see the spot of grease on the handle, it reminds me of the trip I took to Colorado with my mom.
It’s just stuff, after all. No need to save it for later.