Sunday, 15 July 2012

Saving things for best

I've had a couple of conversations in the last week or so about the notion of 'saving things for best' and whether people live with and use their treasures every day, or if they keep them shut away in a cupboard waiting for special occasions.

One dear friend was discussing the cutlery set she got as a wedding gift—very ex-y, very lovely—and how her mum freaked when she found out she was using it every day. As it was a wedding gift, apparently she wasn't meant to use it much. My friend conceded that she was probably going too far when she occasionally used the knives as makeshift screwdrivers, but she loved the cutlery—it added special to the everyday, was a bit of luxury in her otherwise 'starving-artist' life, and it pleased her to use it. Also, because it was such good quality, it was standing up to daily use.

I collect vintage glasses. I've used them for years, but I've really gone into overdrive hoarding them for my wedding reception. If you go 'down the oppy', on a good day you can really score and in the end, apart from my time, it is actually going to be cheaper to buy them this way than hire ugly ones. However, I always feel a great sense of responsibility with vintage items. I get really upset if I break a vintage glass or stain a vintage dress soon after I have purchased it. Sure, I can talk myself through it, but my grief is over the fact that something beautiful and delicate has had a long life, sometimes 50 or 60 years, and then—bam!—two weeks with me and it's cactus! Yikes!

Some of my most treasured possessions are my nana's and my grandma's tea sets. They're all mixed in together now and I generally can't remember which was whose, but it is really important for me to know I have them, even though I only lay eyes on them once a month or so because, yes, I keep them in a cupboard. I have lived in my house for over three and a half years and I only remember using them once in that whole time. In fact, I think it was a house guest who took them out to use, not knowing. However, I have decided to bring them out to use at the wedding and I was discussing this with my fiancé the other day. Yes, they may get broken (alright, maybe I'll leave my favourite set at home, it's the blue one, pictured above), but really, if I can't find a better reason to use something that I save for best than to use it at our wedding, then what am I waiting for? By having them there, in use, it will be a little like having Nana and Grandma there, too. That's a thought that makes me very happy. If any of them get broken, well, it was for a good cause, and surely that is a better way for them to meet their demise than if I break one dusting it for the fifteenth time since I last used it?

Blathering on about this notion over Skype last weekend, my beloved piped up with, "There's a blog post for you!" Given that I've just turned 42 and have never been married before, it's moments like that that make me realise I have been saving myself for best, too.

But tell me, do you use your precious things, do you squirrel them away, or are you, like me, trying to overcome your tendencies?

PS On a related topic, one of my favourite posts on Bek Misic's beautiful blog, Traces, deals with a Buddhist teacher's notion of a glass already being broken and being able to appreciate things when you are with them and not holding attachment when they are gone. It's a great post—go check it out!

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