Saving Things for Later

There is a small group of pens on my work desk, all laser engraved with my full name, that are just sitting there – truly symbolic of a pattern I’ve noticed in my life. These pens have been collecting dust because, for years, I’ve been “saving them for later.” There’s a noticeable pattern of this “saving things for later” in my life in the form of unused scrapbook paper collections, fun stickers I still have from my childhood, special dark chocolates that eventually fell behind the microwave, hoarded book ideas, specialty face masques, pretty fabrics and so many other little tidbits. All these items I’ve been saving for later that sometimes go bad before I ever have an occasion worthy enough of using them. I’ve noticed this pattern all over the place in my home and mind, especially whenever I’m cleaning out drawers or closets.

I feel like I’m always saving things for special occasions. An occasion has to be special enough for me to deserve a Vitamin C-infused face masque or a $10 bag of tea. But I have yet to define what that perfect occasion is. I have to have a scrapbook page that’s completely perfect to be worthy of my prettiest papers. But I have yet to figure out what that perfect page is either. So these items that I’m saving just continue to be saved. I feel like if I use all of these extra-special items there won’t be any others when I really need them. What I’m really doing is subconsciously interpreting something about their value as unreachable. And I believe this habit is fueled by a scarcity mindset. As long as I have these pretty papers/masques/etc., I feel rich/perfect/indulged/happy. If I use them up then I’ll be left empty-handed.

After doing a little bit of soul-searching about this I’ve discovered that I’m really losing out on these extra special touches in my life. Oftentimes the things that I’ve been saving will no longer be of use when I find them again. The scrapbook papers don’t fit in my current scrapbook and their designs look a little dated now. A few of the personalized pens have dried up and I never got to enjoy them. So I’m learning that I need to stop saving things and use them now! I’m learning that I should be getting excited about these small indulgences now rather than suppressing the excitement, saving them, eventually losing the excitement and finding them years later once they’ve expired. Where’s the logic in that?

I’ve started to shift my mindset and begun to remind myself that every day is worthy of something a little special. My everyday hardworking self is deserving of a little treat any time. Funny enough, the more I stash things away, the more I end up wasting them which is exactly the opposite of the original intent of buying them! Instead, I am going to catch myself before I tuck things away and be more intentional about using them right away. I know that the little treasures of this world will never be scarce. I know that today is as good a time as any to enjoy these little spirit lifters and that there’s never a guarantee of their useful tomorrows, or even tomorrows at all.

Before I end this post, I’m going to stop and slip those pens into the pen pocket in my purse where they will be used…OK, I’m back. Even if my baby girl chews the stylus tips off the pens (not like that’s ever happened) I’m OK with it. It makes more sense to get some life out of those pens and to really enjoy them than to hide them away in my desk for another four years. I’ll get another one at Christmastime like I always do. These riches will never run out.

Dear reader, I encourage you too, to bring out the fine china and wine for dinner tonight. Your family deserves this rare treat just as much as, if not more than, your occasional guests. Admire the fancy adornments and the elegance of your made-up dining room table. Don’t hide them away in a box in the attic for fear that they’ll get broken. One of my personal mottos is to “elevate the everyday.” Making use of the items that we tend to save for later is one of the best ways to practice that.

Jessica M. Collins is a mom, writer and personal trainer from WI who has a brain exploding with constant ideas. Her love for wordsmithing, nature, fitness and elevating the everyday are reflected on her blog She loves making connections with other people, so stop by her blog and say hello.

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