I have an odd ability: I can sit in a room for 30-45 minutes staring at the objects around me, just thinking about their history and place in my home, where I might move them to their best advantage, whether or not I need or use them, and how they relate to other things in the room and in my life.
From this you might gather that I have a lot of objects. And you’d be right.
So, at the end of four full weeks of no frivolous shopping, while I’m no longer bringing new items into my home, I’m shopping, both physically and mentally, amongst the possessions I already own.
It’s Day #28, and after spending the late afternoon and early evening cleaning out my bedroom and closet, I’ve discovered so many things I knew I’d bought but hadn’t ever taken out of their bags. So many lovely things that were special — are special — but perhaps are too special to use.
In my first post on this blog I referred to Guest Soap Voice, but this idea of ‘too special to use’ is more accurately described as Guest Soap Mindset — a belief that everyday life is too ordinary for these Special Things.
Special needs to be saved, stored, not wasted . The good, the beautiful, the special has to be held in reserve for an unspecified future date. These anticipated occurrences fall under the designation of Those Moments That Matter.
What exactly are Those Moments That Matter?
I don’t know, because so far no single moment has ever come along that was so incredible that I broke into my stash of Special Things and actually used any of them.
BETTER THAN TODAY
We talk about saving for a rainy day, putting something aside for the future, expecting that tomorrow will be better than today. My mother was that type of person, always anticipating Something in the Future that would make everything right.
She never said it outright, but there was always the sense that this Something would provide her the ‘happily ever after’ that life seemed to have denied her. Her prince — my father — came, but he only provided her ‘happily for a little while after’; in the long run, he turned out to be just another ordinary thing in her everyday life.
I knew my mother was dissatisfied because she could never leave well enough alone. She had to constantly move furniture, rearrange, change things up. She didn’t buy new things — we couldn’t afford it. Instead she’d do something that forced us to live our lives differently. I’d come home from school and the spare bedroom would be turned into her sewing room, the bed pushed into the corner with furniture in front of it because — as she explained — “Nobody ever sleeps over.”
NO LONGER ENOUGH
She wasn’t locked into convention. If a whim struck, she acted on it.
So even though our kitchen had an attached dining area where we’d previously entertained guests for dinner, on another day I came home from school and found that the dining table and chairs had been moved into the living room by the fireplace. Now our attached dining room held a couch, chairs, and a TV.
It made the living room very crowded.
Even worse, the TV now blared throughout every meal. It was a habit I grew to hate, one that did not carry over into my own adult life.
My mother never said she was dissatisfied in words; I doubt she could articulate it. She couldn’t change people, change relationships, change herself, but she could change her stuff. And as she got older and moved from the house I grew up in to a new house where I was only a visitor, moving furniture was no longer enough.
BE SO NICE
She got it into her head that she needed a sunroom in place of the back deck off the dining room. “After we build the sunroom, it will be so nice.” She had it built but didn’t anticipate how hot it would be in summer or how cold in winter.
Then she fixated on renovating a portion of the basement into a family room; the house didn’t have one upstairs. “After we build the family room, it will be so nice.” But then the basement began to flood regularly, and she realized that putting down carpeting and drywall would not be advisable.
Still she clung to the idea that having a family room would solve all her problems.
My parents were comfortable but not rich by any means. If they had been, I suspect my mother would have been like the woman responsible for the Winchester House, that architectural oddity that kept growing as more and more rooms were added and odd wings, extensions, and extra stories were built.
She rearranged and renovated. I’m a cheaper date; I’ve bought and stashed away stuff.
For her, Those Moments That Mattered were her life post-sunroom or post-family room. Mine were of a different sort.
But because you’re not prepared to read a 2,000-word blog post and I’m not prepared to write one, I’ll save that story for next time.
Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash