The other day at my parents’ house, I reached into the cabinet to get something and noticed the china. It’s always been in that particular cabinet and in fact, it’s been stored there for over forty years. The thing is, it never gets taken out of that cabinet and every time I see it, I think to myself, what’s the point of having it if it’s never used? Many people reserve their china or their crystal or their nice linens for special occasions (or maybe not use them at all). And I think many of us do the same thing with other “things” in our lives, like nice clothing or accessories or furniture (take, for example, the formal living room that is off limits). We save these things for that special event or day and revert to our “everyday” items the majority of the time. But a couple of years ago, I was moving into a smaller place and had to make decisions about what to keep and what to give away or sell. So what did I do? I saved only my most favorite items. I gave away boxes of shoes and bags of clothing, kitchen items and even furniture that I had accumulated but didn’t need or particularly care for. I lightened my load considerably, which among other things, simplified my life tremendously. And in so many ways, it helps me have less of an impact on the environment. For example, during that time, I decided I would only use my pretty cloth napkins so I no longer buy paper napkins.
The point I am trying to make with all of this is we can make our days more relaxing, more enjoyable and even more special by having less “stuff”, and by only having things that we love. Less stuff helps to create a less cluttered, lower maintenance life style. It leaves more room, more time, and even more money, for “doing” fun and enjoyable things as opposed to “having” things. Life can be chaotic enough with our daily obligations and schedules, so any way we can minimize the busyness, physically and mentally, the better. It also enables us to be present for those moments that may spontaneously arise. For example, last night, there was a mesmerizing full moon that I was able to fully immerse myself in without the worry of what had to happen next. In a similar manner, how would our days feel if we only surrounded ourselves with the things we love? What if we only had nice dishes that we used everyday? And we treated that beautiful outfit as everyday-wear instead of leaving it hidden in the closet, waiting for a special occasion to arrive? What would our lives be like if we considered all of our days special? The fact is, they are all special because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week, or even a few hours from now. When thinking about the things that I’m grateful for, “this day” is always on the list. I get that anything can happen. It’s not something that I focus on, but it’s something that always comes to mind if I’m having a bad day or feeling down. I remind myself that I’m still here, and surrounded by people (and yes, some things) for which I’m grateful. Maybe you’ve heard the saying by Leslie Gerber, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” So if you can, find ways celebrate your days and make them feel like the most extraordinary you’ve had so far - even if you only do something as simple as using the cloth napkins.