The Trouble with Saving up Beauty for Someday.

  “I wear these old ratty things underneath my clothes everyday,” confesses a friend over the phone. There’s traces of guilt in the quiet words.

Meanwhile, I have this drawer filled with pretty lingerie, you know beautiful matching sets, just waiting to be worn. I’ve been saving them. You know, for someday..,” she trails off.

Does this sound familiar? I’d love to tell you I’m shocked and appalled by my friend’s confession to wearing ratty and worn unmentionables, or hoarding pretty ones in a secret drawer, but I’m not.

You see, I have lingerie that’s just too beautiful, too fine to wear everyday, so it gets worn not at all. I’m saving it, you know… For a “good” day, when I feel better about wearing it… When I feel more deserving… When I’ve lost any hint of a tummy… Or have a boyfriend.

And it doesn’t just stop there. I have a whole collection of exquisite shoes in a slew of rainbow colors I’ve been “collecting” instead of actually wearing.

I have “good” dishes hidden away safely waiting for a rainy day, a special occasion to use them, lest they should break with mere every day use.

To be honest, I don’t know very many women who don’t have secret stashes like these somewhere in their lives.  

They are modern day trousseaus. Throw backs from the days when women gathered treasures into trunks– beautiful dresses, china, silks, and veils from girlhood on in anticipation of the day when their lives finally really began. Apparently it’s a hard habit to break, since we’ve been doing it ever since.  

We might not save beautiful things in anticipation of a man and marriage, but the idea of “someday when my life really begins” persists… Maybe for you it’s a dream job, or the day when you find your life purpose, or move to France, or finally like yourself or lose the weight. That’s the day when you’ll finally bring out the good stuff and use it. That’s the day you’ll deserve it or it will finally feel right. Until then… It all just waits. 

It doesn’t matter why we’re waiting. The point is that we have this crazy belief we have that we can save up beauty, or joy or fun or freedom for some future day. But for right now, were just going to keep playing it safe and small. It’s not terribly surprising all this. After all, we live in a culture that encourages us to live lives of scarcity and fear.  

How often are we told this might be the last semi decent guy we’ll meet — even if it’s our own soul whispering it  

 to us? “So hold onto him even if he bores you silly, doesn’t make your heart race and seems to have a wandering eye,” we tell ourselves and each other.

We tell ourselves to hold on to a miserable job — even while acknowledging, that it’s slowly killing us with high blood pressure and endless hours, but hey, it’s safe, and it here, and who knows when you’ll get another one, right? Better just to just wait and hope for a new one to show up.

And you better hold onto your pennies– don’t spend them on that trip to Morocco you’ve been dreaming of since you were 20. You might need that money in the future– who knows what could happen? Better to wait for a day when you’re more secure financially.

The problem here is that the intangibles of life, the stuff we really value, like beauty, joy and freedom, cannot be saved up or collected. They don’t wait, not even for a better day. They only exist now.

Sure you can collect and save up dresses, but what good is a collection of beautiful dresses you’ve never worn? The fun, the joy is in the wearing of them — the way they make you feel — sexy, feminine, beautiful, cool, and the memories you make in those dresses because of how you felt and what that led you to do.

Those memories are the true collection.  A closet full of unworn clothes? Worthless.

In the same way, the freedom to do what you love cannot be saved up until retirement when who knows what condition you’ll be in financially or physically. Freedom only exists now, not later. Which makes holding onto that job you hate or waiting on that trip to Morocco pretty damn risky after all.

Those dishes may break if you use them — maybe at some fantastic dinner party you threw, but the story of that break is yours to keep forever. And I bet it’s a pretty great story- an epic one, if it happened at one of your parties.

That guy you held onto because you were so scared he was the very last one? He left you for someone else anyway. Guess he wasn’t as safe an investment as you thought. You’d resent the time you wasted on him if you weren’t so much happier being single these days.

And lo and behold, there are other fun men out there to enjoy after all. Some for just a date, some for more than that. But you’ve learned that the fun isn’t in desperately clutching someone as your last future hope, but in having adventures with whoever is in front of you right now, whether it’s you, your bad ass best friend, or Mr. Right.

So, what things are you putting on hold? What stuff or people are you holding on to? Either hoping they’ll pay off in the future or too scared to ruin? Are you banking on horrible or boring experiences paying off in the future? Do you have beautiful things you’re waiting to use?

Stop. Right now. Immediately. Instead:

1.  Use the “good” stuff, the pretty lingerie, the beautiful dishes, the gorgeous shoes — daily.  

Believe the flow of goodness, wealth and abundance is yours. Take it in faith for now, that more is always on the way. You won’t be left with less if something gets used up or broken.

Start reframing beauty, fun, and freedom as something that must be spent — daily, instead as something that can be bought or saved for later. You spend it by feeling beauty, fun or freedom in this moment. Spend freely! Go crazy! See how much beauty you can find right here, right now. Notice the perfect drops of dew on the roses on your way to work. Wear the chicest dress you own to the office and take a moment to feel beautiful in that dress. Flirt up a storm.

2. Relinquish the horrible stuff you’re clutching out of fear — like that job or boyfriend. Start to experience the intangible good stuff — joy, beauty, fun, freedom, now.

Choose fun over duty– daily. Don’t do the laundry this week if it feels stifling. Instead, go on an evening road trip to the beach. Walk hand in hand, barefoot, and laugh. Tell funny stories about how you met. Feel free and have fun. Trust me, there will somehow always be time for the laundry.

It’s that simple. And that hard, if you’re doing it without a leap of faith. So take a leap of faith.


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