Just Drink the Damn Wine
As we near our departure date (107 days, to be exact), I’ve noticed my use of “special things” around the house increase. Special things are those items that may cost more than I would normally spend on something, gifts from friends that I would never buy for myself, or ingredients brought home from foreign lands that I want to last since I don’t know the next time I’ll visit said foreign land.
I first noticed allowing myself to use special items when we ran out of soap a few months ago. Since we’re in money saving and stuff reducing mode, I decided we could tap into my special stash of soap so as not to buy more from the store. This special stash of soap accumulated mainly from a Christmas gift of nice soap containing the scent of one of my favorite flowers (frangipani) or the wedding favors given to guests at my friends’ wedding from two years prior. I was a bridesmaid, so I had four bars of lemon soap that just sat in a container because I had deemed them “too nice to use.”
I’ve barely drunk the coffee from the organic coffee plantation we visited in Colombia in June 2014 and I use the raw cacao we brought home very sparingly. Loose leaf tea hangs out in the darkness of our tea cabinet, begging to be used, yet remains mostly full, reserved for “special occasions.” Homemade hand cream given to me by friends parties with the soap in our bathroom. I’ve had hair products for years that I use only when I want to look especially pretty and there’s that sampler tray of gourmet salts that have mingled in the overflow spice drawer for years.
If I use these items, then they won’t be there anymore, right?
I know where some of this comes from: For most of my adult life, I never really had the ability to purchase luxury goods for myself. I spent my money on high quality items I really needed like food or winter coats or running gear. I’d never buy high end hair products or artisan cosmetics for myself because I couldn’t justify the cost. So when I received them as gifts, I felt the need to hang onto them since they were so rare to me.
Now that’s I’ve started using my soaps and cacao and coffee, what has happened? First off, we’re reducing the amount of stuff we have prior to our trip, second, and more importantly, as I use these items, I think of the friends and memories behind them. Every time I wash my hands, I think of Cassandra and her wedding in Santa Barbara. When I whip up some sort of delicious raw dessert, I think back to the wonderful vacation we had in Colombia. I feel enjoyment and nostalgia when I use the products I’ve saved for so long.
Since giving myself permission to deplete my special things, I’ve felt a release in my body that comes from holding onto something for years. I’ve learned that there’s never just one right time to use something special. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, trips around the world. Toast Tuesday evening, completed marathons, or the first beet you grow from your garden. Find the small pleasures in life that bring joy and raise a glass to your gratitude.
I once heard a piece on NPR or somewhere similar about a man who collected wine. I don’t remember the story details exactly, but the man had a bottle of wine reserved for a “special occasion,” with his wife. Anniversaries came and went, celebratory events passed without popping the cork. Finally one of the two of the pair fell ill and died. The man then realized how dumb it was to wait for the perfect special occasion to drink that bottle of wine. Similar stories and bottles gone bad inspired the Wall Street Journal to declare Open that Bottle Night. I have a small collection of bottles of wine in our basement ready for enjoyment. I think we’ll host an Open that Bottle Night, and just drink the damn wine.