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Using the Things You Love Now Rather Than Later

By saving your "stuff" for a special occasion, you rob yourself right now.

At what age do you stop saving things for “special occasions?”

Pexels/Melike Benli
Source: Pexels/Melike Benli

Fact: That expensive designer velvet blazer looks just as good with pair of faded jeans as it does with dressy pants. In fact, it looks hot.

Fact: To use that gorgeous china and elegant crystal doesn’t require royalty to descend upon you. Anything you place on it/in it makes dining feel more special. What if it breaks, you may ask? Unless you think your millennial child will want that 50-year-old serving dish, it’s just stuff. And you can't take it with you.

Fact: That nest egg you saved for a future trip somewhere isn’t going to transport you to your dream destination unless you use it to get there. If your life ended a month from now, in hindsight, would you have regrets about having spent the money?

This lingering pandemic has gotten people (especially the gracefully aging crowd) thinking long and hard about the value of a given day, week, month, or year. Some of us lost or nearly lost family members and friends to COVID, making us realize that tomorrow is anything but guaranteed and life can change on a dime.

I just passed the age at which my own sweet momma left us. In her wake, she left a closet full of clothes and shoes she “saved,” some of which still had the tags attached. So when I was tasked with giving away her petite-but-elegant wardrobe, it made me think long and hard about using the things I love. The result? Now in my third trimester of life, I tend to overdress for just about any occasion, even in a notoriously casual town. Why? Because when I wear things I love, I feel beautiful. And because I stopped caring what others think a while back.

Writer/blogger Hilary Bernstein, in her article, Surrounding Yourself with Your Favorite Things, says life is too short to not enjoy every day. “Once you figure out what you do like, it’s time to use it. That’s one simple way to,” she says. “If you get in the habit of only buying things that you love, soon you’ll be surrounded by what makes you smile. You can open your closet and love all your clothes. You’ll walk into a room and instantly feel at home.” She adds that not only will you lift your spirits; you will begin to enjoy the mundane things of life more when you surround yourself with your favorite things. You’ll not only end up being a better steward of your belongings; you’ll end up using what you own a lot more when you’re excited to use them.

How about that diamond solitaire necklace your mom left you? Is it better off sitting in a velvet box in perpetuity than around your neck?

Will that antique tea service forever be a museum piece, or might tea actually taste good out of it when you entertain a good friend? And how will using it make you feel?

I have a closet full of clothes I have missed wearing since COVID forced us to stay home. I used to go to business meetings, take a run into the city to shop, and meet a friend for dinner and loved wearing different combinations of them. Now that a bout of COVID plus three vaccine shots are on board, I am, little by little, dusting off the shoulders of those blazers, wearing the knee-high boots that have been in their shoe forms for 18 months, and putting on a full face of makeup again. Why? Because I can. When I shed my sweats and yoga clothes and dud myself out, all feels right with the world—whether it’s a trip to the mall, getting on a plane, having drinks with friends, or singing karaoke. I didn’t purchase any of those things to gaze at and use at a later date.

Because here’s another fact: It’s later than you think.