Are you living in the future tense? You know, living for when all is perfect: the house is big enough and beautifully decorated; all the work is done; the calendar is clear; the bank account is bulging. I know I have. The excuses and rationalization for not fully living here and now have changed at various times in my life. Being in the throes of raising a family provides years? worth of get out of jail free cards. Being a working stiff eats up huge chunks of time so who can blame a girl or guy for coasting through. Getting older offers a whole other set of reasons like less energy and an unwilling body.
Now I’m trying my best to bring it all home to this moment. ?It? being attention and intention. For me it has meant taking a close look at individual possessions. Do I need a dozen mugs from businesses or dinner sets? Or do I opt for a gorgeous bone china mug emblazoned with luscious red poppies? Or perhaps my leopard print one. Do I keep the high thread count sheets (that pilled nonetheless) or throw them out loooong before their life should have been up? How many more years should I save my Wedgewood dinner set for the perfect meal? It’s only been forty-two years so far.
Burning the ?special? candles, dabbing the ?expensive? perfume, making the first mark in a pristine journal are signs to the universe that we’ve gotten the life lesson about scarcity versus abundance. If we use something it will be replaced because there’s always more where that came from. If we hoard it, there isn’t room (or need) for more or better. Gradually I’m letting go of those things I no longer love or use. They’ve served their purpose.
Our house is small. And not likely to get bigger anytime soon. There are some niggling projects that need doing: replacing some interior doors, painting the exterior doors and trim, and repainting the bathroom vanity. Despite that we’ve invited a couple for dinner next Sunday. I’ve decorated the tree not with every decoration I own but with my current favourites. I will pull out the china set and other precious serving dishes. Maybe I’ll find my silver flatware set circa 1973 and use that too. The Saje nebulizer will be on with some wonderful scent filling the air. Dare I use a fancy schmancy tablecloth? What if someone spills something? Oh well.
Are we brave enough to look into our lives and see what we’re saving for the perfect day? Activities we won’t begin because we’re not ready? Dreams we won’t pursue because we’ve got to _______________ first. Each time I donate or sell the superfluous in my life there’s more room for me and the things I wish to do or use. Eventually we all realize that taking the world by storm may not happen. Imperfect things actually done today are better that perfect things never executed. It’s now or never, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.