I hear the idea that you should “use the good china” quite a bit. I like the idea – we’re never sure what’s going to happen from day to day, so it’s worthwhile to make every day feel special, and to not put off using or doing the things that will make our lives that little bit nicer in the present.
I’m not great at this. I remember, as a child, being upset that my mom was using up the good soaps that someone had giver her as a gift. I distinctly recall being upset because then she wouldn’t have them anymore. It’s an idea that I’m not sure that I’ve ever completely shaken, and I still tend to hold onto things for longer than I should in an attempt to not use them, and therefore keep having them. But it strikes me that if I continue living my life this way, some day I’m going to have to transport quite a lot of unused soap, candles, jam, pens, notebooks, and clothing to a new home, or that someone else is going to have to deal with it when I’m no longer around. Worst of all? I’ll have held onto all of this stuff without ever having enjoyed much of it.
It would be nice to enjoy these things while I have them, and to make good use of them. I’m trying to find ways to be nicer to myself this year and to do things that I enjoy, and so I’m going to add “use the nice stuff” to my list of goals for the year. I don’t actually have good china – I didn’t want two sets of dishes, I had no interest in worrying about damaging the expensive stuff, and I like my inexpensive white ikea stock just fine. But I do have vintage mugs that I’m fearful of breaking, lovely soap that I’ve put off using, beeswax candles that I have yet to burn, notebooks I haven’t written in lest I make a mistake, and favourite clothing that I wear infrequently for fear of stains or tears.
Of course, this means learning how to accept that things are likely to be used-up, broken, or worn out. But this also means that they will have been used and enjoyed, which is sounding more and more like a pretty good thing to me. This afternoon, I’ll have a cup of tea in one of the jadeite mugs bought for me by my mom, light a beeswax candle, and open up one of those nice notebooks. I’ll pull out my woefully under-used fountain pen, load it up with some of the bright green ink that I bought years ago, and start writing. It’s not a huge shift by any means, but I’m looking for opportunities to make sure that everything I keep around is used and has a purpose and, even more importantly, to find small bits of pleasure throughout the day. Nothing in my home should be too precious to use and enjoy.