Lately I’ve been focusing on making one really simple change in my life and it’s having a very big, positive impact on me and my day-to-day life. It started a month or so ago, when I started to realise just how much of a ‘saver’ I am. I better start by explaining what the heck that means exactly.
I don’t know where it comes from or why I do it, but I tend to be a person who likes to save things for a later date, deeming them too important or special to use. I’ll give you a few examples to explain it better. It occurs when I buy something, like really nice moisturiser, make-up or face wash. I get it home, take it out of the packaging and put it in my bathroom. But instead of using it as prescribed on the packaging, I save it, telling myself it’s too nice to waste.
This also extends to a lot of other aspects in my life. I don’t wear expensive jewellery, because it’s special. I don’t put on a movie I bought, because it’s not the right day to watch it, I should wait for a more special occasion and enjoy it properly. It also applies to food. Watermelon is one of my favourite fruits and sometimes I buy a section of watermelon, put it in my fridge and stare at it all week, instead of eating it. Whenever I look at it and think ‘Yum! I should eat that!’ I also think, ‘No, save it. You’re just eating it as a snack, it should be saved for a more special food-loving moment. It’s your favourite.’
Now I write it out, it sounds a lot more tragic than it initially felt inside my mind.
I started to notice this was a real problem when I was throwing out half a perfectly good watermelon portion each week, cursing myself for not having eaten it when I got the chance. Then, I remembered a story I’d overheard my mum talking about when I was a kid. I must have been about 11 or so and she was talking about a very tragic story that had really affected her.
A woman had lost her life in a car accident and the newspaper had spoken to her husband and sister, publishing a story about it. In it, the woman’s sister had described how she’d gone to her house to help the husband sort through the woman’s belongings. The woman had absolutely loved perfume and collected beautiful bottles of gorgeous scents over the years, displaying the pretty bottles in the couple’s bedroom.
The sister said that for all the bottles that were there, not one was even close to being used. Most were still full, just lined up perfectly. Her sister was also a saver, you see. Instead of using the perfume daily, she had deemed it too special to waste and was saving it for special occasions. In that moment, the sister described how she’d grabbed a box and filled it with the bottles of perfume, taken them to her home and lined them all up.
From that day on, she explained, she made her duty to use the perfume her sister never got to. Each day she would cover herself with perfume, mixing scents if she felt like it, freshening up her scent and carrying bottles with her to use throughout the day. She spoke about how much it affected her that her sister had been saving the perfume for a special day, not realising that every day is special in its own way.
This incredibly heart-breaking and powerful story really, really stuck with me. The loss of this woman is unimaginable, the life-lesson to come out of her story, for me, is life-changing. Even as a little girl at 11 or so, it resonated with me. When I realised recently that I was saving things myself, that story flooded back into my mind and I realised I needed to start working to make a change. There’s no point saving things up and stopping yourself from enjoying them now. There’s no point delaying your happiness and pleasure.
Here’s the thing, in my mind I was saving the beautiful face cream so I could enjoy it and feel special in the future. I guess I was trying to prolong that feeling. But if I use it today and every other day until it’s gone, I get to feel special that entire time. Then, once it’s done, I can just buy another one and feel special all over again. There’s absolutely no need to save it up.
So, over the last few weeks I’ve been working at this really, really hard. When I go to the fridge and see something I want to eat, I prepare it and eat it right away. If the thought of ‘save it’ pops into my mind, I take that as a signal that I absolute 100% MUST enjoy it right this second. I’ve been using all my good face creams and make-up, wearing all my nice clothes and taking more photos with my polaroid camera. I’m done trying to save a good book for my next trip away or holding off on buying myself something special as a treat.
Last night I went to a friend’s house to watch a movie. We chose a movie I had been holding onto and saving, waiting for the right occasion to settle into my couch at home and watch it. When they chose it, I didn’t hesitate, I pushed away my ‘save it’ mentality and we put it on. I got to watch it with my friends, share it with them and enjoy it. Who knows, if I didn’t watch it when the chance arose, I may get too busy, forget about it, lose interest in seeing it and never watch it!
With the story behind this, it could be perceived as a bit morbid, but I promise you it isn’t. In fact, it’s the opposite! There are so many times in life we delay our own happiness, but there’s really no benefit to it. Whether it’s something small, like watermelon, or something big, like making a life change, it’s important to do it while you have the chance. One day you won’t have the option anymore and you will have saved something and be completely unable to use or enjoy it. Similarly, you may have been waiting for the ‘right moment’ to say or do something. Keep in mind, the right moment may never happen, so you best use the moments you do have.
With this in mind, I’m working on enjoying each and every day more. I’m not going to lie, it feels amazing. I’m eating more of my favourite foods, using more of my gorgeous beauty products and, in doing so, I’m turning each day into a special occasion, worthy of all my special things. Don’t wait until it’s too late to do the things that make you happy, when you can do them right now.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger who believes life should be full of fun and adventure. Phoebe shares practical inspiration to help others enrich their lives through travel. Her fun Vlogs, useful travel guides and beautiful photographs are all aimed at inspiring others to live a life they love and never settle for less.