Joy in the new year: Use the china now sage advice

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By Deena Sherman – 

I was recently at a party with some friends and we were talking about the highlights of the holiday season. Happy dinners with our families topped the list and the discussion meandered to the topic of family china. We found that we all had two things in common: We had all inherited china and almost none of our children was interested in it.

My wise friend, Therese, had a solution. She uses hers on a regular basis and just runs it through the dishwasher. Although I’m sure many my age would gasp at this idea, Therese made a good point. Why are we keeping eight or 12 beautiful settings of china in perfect condition so that it can someday be boxed up and taken to Goodwill? Why not enjoy it while we are here and not fret if a piece or two gets broken in the coming years?

It made me think of my Aunt Judy. It wasn’t enough that we took off our shoes when we entered the house. All carpets were covered with plastic runners and the couch had a plastic cover as well, which made it very uncomfortable in the Summer. All the years I knew her, I never saw the couch or carpet uncovered.

It reminded me of a story I heard many years ago about children choosing their mother’s clothes for her funeral. They found a dress, a slip, and other items that she had saved for just the right occasion. The occasion became her own funeral. They were saddened that she never enjoyed these things while living.

So I’ve decided that in 2019 I’m going to open all the new socks that are waiting for threadbare ones to rip out. I’m going to wear my favorite jewelry just to go to the grocery store, or to work. And I’m going to use my china for dinner just because it’s Friday. Or Tuesday. Then load it into the dishwasher.

I think my husband already understands this concept. He bought a 1967 GTO last year. It needs some work, so was a pretty good deal. He didn’t buy it to take to car shows. He bought it to drive to work in decent weather. He enjoys working on it. We decided it didn’t make sense to wait until we were out of debt or retired. I wanted to see him enjoy it now.

Maybe we all get to an age where we realize our time isn’t limitless. The time has come to use the things we’ve stored on the remote shelves of the closet. If the things around us no longer fit or just don’t make us happy, it’s probably time to donate them so they potentially can make someone else happy. It’s time to stop saving things for a special occasion. The fact that we wake up to face each new day is a special enough occasion to celebrate.

Of course my friend, Brian, had another idea: Put it all on eBay and earn money toward a holiday cruise next year. That’s a good idea, too. Hope you find what brings you joy this year.

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