I recently had a small crisis about a beautiful leather bag my husband got me for my birthday last year. I noticed the inside fabric was getting a bit used-looking and my knee-jerk response was to decide to stop using it for "everyday." Thankfully, my sister, with whom I discuss such first-world woes, talked me out of it with a stern and confident, "It's beautiful! Just use it! Enjoy it!" Yes. Here are some other things I think we should all stop saving and start enjoying.
Our own Jennifer recently wrote about lighting a candle she'd been saving — for what she didn't know — in On Using (and Using Up) Our Nicest Stuff. If you think about it, it's a version of "stop and smell the roses" because it involves being in the present and enjoying the right-in-front-of-us right now.
I'm dying to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. One little thing I've heard about it is that Ms. Kondo recommends taking every single thing out of your closet and only keeping the items that give you a "spark of joy." While I'm not sure I could be so extreme (I hope I can be), I like the take-away sentiment: life's too short to wear clothes you don't like when you have clothes you do like! Put on the shoes! Don't worry about snagging that sumptuous, delicate sweater! Wear the necklace as often as you want!
Worrying about furniture that's intended to be used (which, let's face it, most of it is) is extremely stressful. Trying to enjoy your guests while chasing people around with coasters or trying to have movie night with the kids while nagging about greasy fingers is not fun for anyone. In a perfect world, everyone would know how to treat furniture, but we all know that something happening to your furniture is really a question of when. I like to keep our things nice, but you know what? I have some friend's children's names etched into my kitchen table when they wrote on it without a magazine under their papers, and I have my son's teeth marks in a wooden post on the foot of our bed (those of you without kids, I assure you this isn't feral). So this furniture isn't perfect, but it is uniquely ours and imbued with the stories of our daily life. Looking at the matter like this chills me out, helps me enjoy the things in our home rather than hovering over them and bemoaning mishaps.
Everything in the formal dining room.
I've wondered recently about whether the formal dining room is dead and shared how my dining room is pretty much a museum. A commenter suggested, "Why not create memories around these treasured pieces by making them part of your daily life?" Awesome! Rather than fretting about using the heirloom furniture, china, silver, and lace tablecloths from Italy, I want to honor those I loved and love by using my family's special things to remember those gone and celebrate those here — much more often than at Thanksgiving!
Food and wine, especially gifts.
Is it just me, or does everyone hesitate to break into the curry your sister brought form India, the tea she brought from China, and the strawberry basil preserves given as a hostess gift years ago? I confess I still have all these things, unopened, from... years ago! *hangs head in shame* Rather than saving things for a special occasion, I want to learn to make even an ordinary day special by enjoying something special. After all, life itself is cause for celebration.
What can you start enjoying?