Why the China is on the table and not in the closet

Finally, fall has come to Wyndham Circle and life is glorious on this easy-going Sunday afternoon. I have the balcony doors wide open and a cool, dry air is circulating throughout the condo. I’m sitting in my favorite comfy armchair with my laptop on my lap and a Spotify acoustic mix softly playing in the background. It’s just me and Soju the Cat, and both of us are enjoying the rare peace of a clean, quiet home.

As I recently turned 39, I’ve noticed my values changing. I spend more money on making my home a warmer, more tranquil place rather than going out to eat or having cocktails with friends. I’m using my vacation days at work and I’m rarely checking email over the weekend. I take the bus to the office, a longer commute than the metro but a more relaxing experience to start my day, and I’ve found a hobby that has kept me occupied, challenged, learning and creative all at the same time.

I have also come to realize that time passes by way too quickly. Last night I took advantage of a dining set sale at World Market and purchased a collection of plates I have been eyeballing for a few years now. Upon seeing my latest purchase, J. Miguel commented that now we have dinnerware for special occasions. I think my response surprised him a bit. “These are not for special occasions,” I told him in all seriousness. “These are our daily use. Life is too short to keep such beautiful dishes in storage until ‘just the right time.'” And I meant it.

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While there is a sentimental sense of “sweetness” to saving precious things for just the right moment, there is also the tragic reality that by doing so, we are denying ourselves simple pleasures during our short time on this earth. Why do we only wear our best clothes to church? Why do we only put fresh flowers in our homes when guests come over? Why do we use the nice dinnerware on holidays and special occasions? Why can’t every day be filled with little joys?

I understand such traditions are what make certain moments even more special. They are indeed what made my childhood so magical. But I also realize the world is different now from how it was when I was a child, and that we can’t take everything for granted. And for this reason, I am not saving my best dinnerware for special occasions or my nicest clothes for church. I am going to embrace each day as much as I can, even through the tiniest acts, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

 

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