Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Saving things for best... or having it all now


Award-winning screenwriter, Nora Ephron (“When Harry Met Sally”) died in June of this year. She once wrote: “There are dreams that are never quite going to come true, ambitions that will never quite be realised. There are, in short, regrets.” When writing about the death of a close friend she said, “it taught me to always use the good bath oil.”

So, should we save things ‘for best’ - or should we seize the moment? Right now? Should we deny ourselves that thing we really want - make ourselves wait? Eke things out? Is life too short to deny ourselves its little pleasures?

As a child I remember having a sheet of Womble stickers. I loved those stickers. I loved them so much I never used them - they spent their life intact, never decorating my pencil case or school book. Never stuck where they shouldn’t be (on my bedroom wall). I also had a favourite colouring-in book - packed with pictures so intricate and lovely I didn’t want to colour them in. I wanted to save them. (Oh dear, I sound like a very uptight child!) Of course, I have no idea where those Womble stickers or that colouring book are now. Somewhere in the great landfill in the sky I guess. I should have used them up, shouldn’t I?

So, am I cured? Have I learnt my lesson? Erm, no - as a mum I still have to stop myself keeping back that gorgeous dress of Amy’s “for best” because let’s face it, children have this habit of growing and so growing out of things. So yes Amy, you can wear your “posh” Hello Kitty ballerina shoes around Tesco because if you don’t they’ll sit in the wardrobe waiting for the charity bag and you’ll never get to relish that thrill of glancing down at your feet and thinking, “ooooh, lovely shoes!”.

Now I’m not suggesting we all run into the streets and start grabbing and demanding the things we want, or run up a huge credit card bill in order to buy something we can ill afford. But maybe saving something special for a day that might not come just means we lose out altogether? Maybe we should always use the “for best” glasses, even if we’re only drinking plonk - or squash even? Yes, they could get broken but at least you can say you truly appreciate the finer things in life, instead of letting them just gather dust at the back of a cupboard.

Assuming you, dear reader, are like me and not massively wealthy or super rich, wouldn’t it be so much better to wring every last penny’s worth out of that lovely something you buy? Why shouldn’t you wear the posh knickers on a Wednesday?!

Look, you’ve already bought it, right? You own it, the purchase has been made, the money spent. So using it doesn’t mean you’re not being thrifty - it means you’re getting your money’s worth and having a bit of fun too. Denying ourselves the good stuff now does sort of imply that we’re not worth it now, but we might be in the future. What on earth is that all about?! Today isn’t a rehearsal, today is as good a day as any to pull those posh biscuits from the back of the cupboard (before they go out of date) and just, well, eat them.

Next time you pop to the corner shop, wear that swanky sweater you keep for best (and those posh knickers) and live your best life now. What do you think?

Sarah x

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