Life is too short to not enjoy every day. Start out by surrounding yourself with your favorite things.
Possessions do not bring true and lasting joy, and they don’t lead to fulfillment. They never have, and they never will. It’s just stuff.
But they can add some happiness to your life. They can make you smile. And they can add some brightness to your dreary days.
Even though our belongings just are things, our belongings can shape our moods.
Harvest gold and avocado green
Growing up in the 1970s, my earliest memories are filled with shades of harvest gold, avocado green, and rusty orange.
To my 3-year-old eyes, it was ugly.
Looking at harvest gold, avocado green, and rusty orange in small amounts is just fine, but those colors were everywhere – on appliances, on cars, on clothing, on furniture and carpet.
While I had a happy childhood, those colors did not help the happiness factor. It was like looking out in a world of mushrooms and moss day after day.
When the ’80s came with all of their neon garishness, life seemed brighter. Even if day glo is shocking, it’s a lot easier to enjoy life when you’re surrounded by those colors.
Colors obviously affect our moods, and I think our belongings have the same pull.
A few of your favorite things …
Think about your belongings. Just look around one room of your home and look what you have. Do you have a lot of these things out of necessity? Are they just there because they’re there … or do you actually want them to be there?
In Marie Kondo’s books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, she writes about the importance of owning things that you love. Does something bring you a spark of joy? Keep it. If it doesn’t, give it away.
I can’t bring myself to follow her principles completely … some things that you own are necessary and may not bring joy. For example, I may not like the way my heaviest winter coat looks, but I won’t get rid of it because like the way it keeps me warm on the coldest days of the year.
And a spatula probably can never bring me much happiness. But I need it when I’m flipping pancakes for my family. Although recently, I’ve noticed beautiful kitchen tools … whisks and spatulas in fun colors, measuring spoons that look more like a work of art. Apparently, kitchen necessities might spark joy.
Surrounding yourself with your favorite things
Once you figure out what you do like, it’s time to use it. That’s one way to start creating a haven for yourself.
If you get in the habit of only buying things that you love, soon you’ll be surrounded by what makes you smile. You can open your closet and love all your clothes. You’ll walk into a room and instantly feel at home.
Not only will you lift your spirits and enjoy the mundane things of life more when you surround yourself with your favorite things, but also you may end up being a better steward of your belongings. You may end up using what you own a lot more when you’re excited to use them.
Choosing what you love
Deciding to use what I love has been an easy way to choose what stays in my home and wardrobe. It’s also a good measuring stick when I’m shopping for something new. If I love it and I need it, then I feel the freedom to make a purchase. If I don’t, then I save my money until I find something I love.
For gifts or belongings I already have, I can easily declutter my home and thin my closet by asking myself if I love something. Does it bring me joy? If so, I keep it – and use it or wear it frequently. If it doesn’t, then I pass it along so that someone else can fully appreciate it. Why bother cluttering my life with something I know I don’t like? Or something I dread?
By choosing to keep my favorite things, I end up surrounded with things that are lovely to me every day. In turn, that helps boost my mood every day.
If I end up using something so much that it wears out – whether it’s my favorite sheet set or drinking glasses that shatter – then I get to search for a lovely replacement.
Treat every day as a special occasion
Years ago I remember reading a forwarded e-mail that shared either an absolutely true or utterly false story about a widower who was grieving over his young wife’s sudden death. As he was looking through her dresser drawers, he found a beautiful silk negligee that his wife had worn once – she was saving it for a special occasion. He was heartbroken because he wished his wife would have worn it more often, because her life was what was precious. Not a particular day.
The point of the tale was to treat every day as a special occasion – because you don’t know if this day may be your last.
At the time, all I had was a little dorm room filled with practical things, but I resolved to always use what I love – my treasured belongings. Because life is too short – and each life is too special – to not use what you love.
And using what you love is an easy way to create a haven.
Celebrating the beauty of life
By using the things that I love, I can better appreciate the beauty of life. I don’t have to wait around for an old serving bowl to chip and break before I can use something I like.
Instead, I choose to treat every day as a special occasion. So if I want to bake my family a cake from scratch – but it’s not anyone’s birthday – then I do. And I serve it on the same dishes that I would on Christmas Day.
When company comes over for dinner, my family isn’t surprised by some fabulous menu and fancy place settings – because they get the same kind of meals and place settings every day of the week. It’s not that our guests aren’t special, but my family makes the most of every day.
When I want to wear my favorite clothes in the middle of the week – and it’s not date night, or a girls’ night out – then I do.
Life’s far too short to wait for a special occasion. Life IS the special occasion.
What things that you love do you use in your everyday life? How can you start to use what you love?
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