Are you saving it?

I believe everyone has some small piece of outrageousness inside themselves. Some people cherish and nurture it, letting it out to play with great regularity, rejoicing in the resultant laughter and skinned knees and wild flights of imagination.

Other people hide it away as if they must protect it, hoarding it for that rainy day when it might be acceptable to release it, just a bit, if only for a little while. Still others repress it and beat it down into submission until it sits there cowering in the darkest corner of their soul, cringing at the mere thought of fresh air and sunlight.

Those others are the people who save the good crystal for the grand occasions that never come, reasoning instead that there are small children scattered about who might break it. The same people who hold back that truly fine bottle of wine, waiting for just the right moment, hesitating because there never seems to be an event quite special enough.

I imagine them arriving at the end of life only to find they have a bottle of expensive finely-aged wine, all the special occasions it might have commemorated and the special people with whom they might have shared it faded into the mists of distant memory. Realizing they have a pristine, heirloom quality crystal bowl that holds no memories of the Thanksgiving when Great Aunt Betty sneezed while serving up her third helping of black cherry jell-o and dropped the spoon on the edge, leaving a stain on the tablecloth and a chip in the bowl whose origin was destined to become a fond and oft-told tale in the fabric of family history.

For too many years, I have been that cautious, careful person. The serious, responsible adult. The one whose role it was to tell others, especially my children, to be careful, mind your manners, watch your step. After all, what will people think?

But that person wasn’t much fun and wasn’t especially happy. Or particularly interesting.

It’s a slow and sometimes painful process, but I’m learning to release the outrageous part inside of me that longs to run free in the sunlight and laugh with abandon. The part that thumbs its nose at convention and tradition and instead embraces vitality and honesty and delight. The part that doesn’t give a good damn whether anyone approves and, frankly, hopes that maybe someone won’t.

So come on over and we’ll make some jell-o in that Waterford bowl. I’ll break out the fine crystal and we can pop the cork on that dusty, heady bottle of wine. We’ll make some memories and live some life. We’ll have fun and we’ll be outrageous. And we’ll laugh. And live with no regrets.

Because even as it gets longer, life gets shorter every day. And you will never get another chance to celebrate this moment. Yes, this one. Right now.

What a shame it would be if you saved it for later. Because all too often, later is too late.


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12 responses to “Are you saving it?

  1. Jennifer Talty

    That’s it, let that hair down! Yeah, BCB!

    Must be those late night phone convos you having with some crazy person.


  2. McB

    Geez, that was good.

    Yup I used to be one of those too. Concerned that people might think me gauche, turn up their noses because I laughed to loud or got a bit silly. And I wasn’t having much fun. Other people were having all the fun, and guess what? Those around them, the ones whose opinion really matter, seemed to enjoy their company anyway. So who did I want to be? The one who was quiet and proper … and boring? Or the one who made a fool of herself occasionally but really enjoyed life. Seemed like a no brainer when I thought about it.

    At the end of my life I want people to say something other than “her hair was always perfect.” I want them to say “she always made me laugh.” A much better legacy, even if its at my own expense.


  3. Sheryl

    That’s what I love about the CBs, one of the reasons I think we all connected so well. We not only revel in each other’s outrageousness, that acceptance encourages our own. From now on,t he Good Dishes are for everything. Because every single day of life should be celebrated.


  4. Anonymous

    As always, beautifully said.
    Who made the rules anyway? Only “good china” for certain occasions, paper plates only for outdoor summertime, balloons only for birthdays, sending flowers only for funerals, etc.
    My MIL said she really could not see them(the flowers) once she was gone so please send them now. She is right.
    On her birthday she would tell perfect strangers it was her birthday and she always received lots of smiles and sometimes hugs. She really did have a good time and was a great example to us all.
    Lots of stories that would bring tears of laughter; she would have been a perfect CB. Maybe I should write them down.
    Anyway BCB, thanks for the reminder.


  5. Margaret

    I bought some red dishes exactly for this reason. They are not fancy, they are not delicate, they are not outrageously expensive. I have everyday dishes, of course, and didn’t need the red ones. I just wanted them. And on “special” nights, we use them. Like on Friday. Or Tuesday. Or pizza night. Or the night it rains. Or doesn’t. You get the idea.

    Yes, every day we get is special. Thanks for this reminder.


  6. Not Mary at all...

    The title of this blog entry soooo reminds me of this guy I used to go out with in high school…


  7. andi

    Okay, first, not Mary – you crack me up! yep, still smiling.

    Second – hosted book club last night and used my DH’s grandmother’s china. It is so fine you can see through it. I LOVE this china. I am sort of a dish dork, but I love this china. My MIL is queen of the save it for a special occasion and never, ever used it. She still has lotion from Jacobsen’s a fancy Detroit dept. store, that closed 4 or 5 years ago, but she has it because she wouldn’t ever use it. It sat in her guest bath, untouched, because it was too good for every day moisturizing I guess. I on the other hand, decided at 36, go for the gusto, use the china, crystal, good lotion, champagne, wine – celebrate those you are with, honor them with your best, laugh, laugh, laugh together, then clink your glasses!

    p.s. – I learned all of that from my husband, who first brought out the good stuff for me and made me believe I was the special occasion.


  8. andi

    umm, that post script sounds a little racy, I didn’t mean for it to, I really was referring to the crystal and china. But for the racy minds, it is also true. hee, hee.


  9. btuda

    I’ve been slowly finding this out on my own. Funny, but after butting heads for years with my mother over “life’s too short” kind of details, we’ve both reached this point.

    You know, for someone who’s spent most of her life feeling desperate to avoid attention, I seem to have developed a certain knack for making people do spit-takes at their computer.


  10. Lou

    Great blog!! I was raised by the “queen-of-queens” of save it for a special occasion, MIND YOUR MANNERS, WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?, sit down and be still, dress up, do not speak unless you are spoken too, etc., etc., etc. My mother could have supped with the real queen and never chosen the wrong piece of silver.

    I didn’t start to find myself until I moved out. It’s been a revelation to know that I can be myself, which is definitely not still and quiet, and still be liked.

    I used to use the good silver every day, but the dishwasher soap discolored it, so I’m back to every day. However, I still use my grandmother’s china that has to be hand washed. It’s so pretty! Oh yes, and no one should save a good bottle of wine – that’s sacrilege!!


  11. orangehands

    andi: DH sounds great.

    never had that problem. i could be very polite when i needed to be (like at my mom’s family, fancy people, so weird), but at home i was loud and did what made me happy and let my imagination run free. still do.


  12. GatorPerson

    My MIL had a 16-place setting of Haviland, along with mega amounts of serving dishes and also crystal for 8. Almost never used them. When she moved to a retirement place, my SIL and I got to divy up the spoils. I chose china, crystal, and table linen.

    Every holiday we meet at my house and use the stuff. MIL loves it and is glad finally to get to use it and expresses regret over waiting until her DIL did.