REMEMBER my flashy green glass and marcasite earrings ? I've been thinking about special things and why, when something is deemed speci...

1960s nightgown (detail)

REMEMBER my flashy green glass and marcasite earrings? I've been thinking about special things and why, when something is deemed special, we tend to distance ourselves from it, wait for it, long for it, even resign ourselves to never having it.

By way of Pip, I found the podcasts of The Happiness Project, and low and behold the first one I listened to was about author Gretchen Rubin's grandmother and a bottle of perfume she had, full, up until the day she died. In saving it for a special occasion it was never used.

It's much like this nightdress my mother salvaged from her local tip shop in a basket of giveaways. It's not been used. It's so fragile had it been used I can't imagine it would be with us today. I imagine the woman who owned this, saved it for a special evening, perhaps with a special someone. What happened? Did she decide it couldn't be worn? Why? I'm sure she would have looked, and felt, a knockout in it.

The unused perfume and lingerie has had me thinking about what it means to "wait for the right time".

I'm reading Australian author Cate Kennedy's book Sing and Don't Cry: A Mexican Journal. This particular work has had me nodding, quietly weeping and tsk-tsking, all at different times.

In it Kennedy dissects the Spanish meaning of the word "wait".

"The word for 'wait' in Spanish is the same as the word for 'hope'," Kennedy writes.

So rather than "waiting" for, in her case the irritations of living in any developing world, she learned to "hope".

"Hoping for the Post Office to open, hoping for the photocopier to be fixed, hoping the train will move so the traffic can flow again."

It's a shift, a small shift in thinking, a shift I once had a handle on while living as an aid volunteer in Vietnam, but I feel like I've forgotten it. I've become impatient and selfish. I grumble about my job, my wages, my commute - the job and wages "fantastic" and "more-than-adequate". The commute, well at least I'm not walking all day just to bring water to my family.

Oh, I could go on, but I won't, I'll just say I've been thinking ... and hoping.

Please, what's something you've got stashed away that you've been, another cliche, saving for a rainy day? Why?

1960s night gown

Oh, and that special something I told you was coming my way arrived. Thank you Sophie. I'm not saving any of it for good. I know you'll understand.

You Might Also Like


  1. I understand this dilemma - I've been writing about it a lot lately. I think it's possible to not be ready for an object. To want whatever wonderful hopes it seems to hold for you, but still not be ready to commit to being that person who could wear the perfume, for instance.

    In one sense, the dream object can give you a glimpse of whatever it is you want, and that can compel, or goad another sense of self into becoming real. But you can wait too long, protecting the real object at the expense of the dream - like the woman with her perfume.

    In essence, when an object is important, there's a risky decision that needs to be made: Do I use this object and potentially squander its wonderfulness before I'm ready for it? Or do I wait so long that I run out of time?

    For my part, I've come round to taking the risk. I'm a little less precious with my precious objects - the everyday joy of using them, wearing them is enough reward.

  2. Beautiful post!

    I save/keep/wait to use weird stuff. Like a big box of matches I bought in Japan. The packaging is too beautiful to break open. Waiting for the right moment to use them that will never happen. And homemade jams from friends can sit in the pantry forever waiting. Don't know what that's about. Special champagne too.

  3. Yay! I'm so glad your parcel arrived safely. My hubby sent it off for me whilst I was away and he said to apologize if the wrapping wasn't very pretty. :) Hope you enjoy everything and use it everyday!
    Sophie x

  4. AnonymousJuly 31, 2011

    It's your daal-loving long-time lurker here. That Cate Kennedy book is a gem isn't it? She is a mate of one of my old girlfriends, and when she was in Mexico in 1997/8, volunteering, I was lucky enough to read some of her emails about her experiences. It is a brilliant book.

    Back to the topic, though. Using is the way it's done round here. The beautiful iitala red coffee cup- knocked off the table by my four year old this morning (it bounced). The vintage jewellery bought by mum- in bowl on top of my chest of drawers, and I choose something from it daily. Etc. Life's too short. Love it and live with it, rather than waiting for the 'better' or 'more deserving' you, who may or may not come along.

    Thanks, love your blog- as always, Ally

  5. Love this. Will attempt to switch 'wait' to 'hope' more often, and will use my good stuff too. Thanks so much. xx