Use the Good Stuff

Tsh wrote this post many years ago but there’s wisdom here that’s just as relevant today. As we all navigate this strange and difficult time, it might be helpful to find ways to embrace the small good things in life.


A few years ago, I read this excerpt from one of Erma Bombeck’s columns, when she discovered she was dying from cancer—it was titled, “If I Had to Live My Life Over”:

“… I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. …I would have sat on the lawn with my kids, even if it meant grass stains.”

It hit home. I have a bottle of perfume—one that I love—that was a Mother’s Day gift from awhile ago. I’ve used about a quarter of it. I’m not sure if I’m waiting for the queen to visit, an invitation to the presidential inauguration ball, or just some romantic date with my husband. But for some reason, I hesitate to use it, as though it’s a precious commodity; that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

That’s true, to some degree. But if I love it so much, why don’t I just use it?

Do you have something in your life akin to this? Is there a special set of dishes you only use on holidays? How about certain lotions, soaps, articles of clothing? Do you have a candle you love that you’ve never lit? Paint you don’t want to break in until you can create a masterpiece? Good pens you don’t want to “use up”?

Maybe you’re in the depths of early childhood rearing. You’re up to your elbows in poop and snot, and you lost count the amount of times you’ve picked up the same blocks off the same carpet. Your day is peppered with breakfast, lunch, dinner, nap times, quiet times, time-outs, and story time.

Maybe you’re just busy. Who thinks about perfume when you’ve got a day full of errand running, meetings at work, and meals to make?

Our quotidian days’ everydayness can numb our senses. It’s easy to forget about that good lotion, the bone china, the silk skirt. There’s spit-up to contend with. Traffic to fight.

Use the good stuff: it makes life's everydayness more special.

I say, let’s make this season of our life—whatever it is—just a bit more special with the special things we tend to save. Let’s break out the good plates for pizza night, for a quick snack. Bring out the “fancy guest” towels for your family. Spritz on perfume for the grocery store. Use fancy pens to write our to-do lists.

Those special things we have? It’s special alone to even have them. We’re doing right by them to use them well. Let’s acknowledge the privilege of saving for special—because it really is.

Let’s better enjoy the little things in life. And let’s make them even more special by using up the good stuff. Don’t wait for that perfect moment—it’s already right here.

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