I was recently given a new patio set. I ripped through the box to reveal its contents – 2 sling chairs and a table – and was thrilled when my bare deck had not been used for a while. I dreamed of the day I could sit on it to enjoy the sunrise, drink my morning tea, read and write, play with my dog or just enjoy the view below. This previously vacant space was often just a memory of what I longed for but didn't have, and filled me with gratitude for its potential and grief for its lack of use every time I looked out the window.
The gift I received is all the more significant because it is one of the few ways that we can physically connect to the world around us at the moment. The echo of how medically a leisurely walk or a bike ride can get louder and louder as spring gently shows us that we still have reasons to be thankful.
I am reminded that everything we own, whether we have had it for 5 minutes or 5 years, was new. Even if the object itself was a hand-me-down, it was new to us. The clothes we wear, the dishes we use, the devices we rely on have all been treated with the enthusiasm, care, approval and admiration that we reserve for items at the earliest stages of their life.
I realize that the excitement that I feel every time I look at my weeks-long outdoor set, eventually subsides. I am aware that the thrill I get from using it can subside. I am certain that one day it will no longer feel new but old, and I will forget how long I have been without it.
I hope this day doesn't come soon. I hope that if I've used it dozens of times and it blends in with my surroundings, I will remember how much joy I felt on the day I opened it. I hope that every time I sit on one of the soft chairs with a new book or a cup of tea, I find a moment to appreciate my experience. I hope that if I feel the familiar pain of upgrading to something even better, I will pause to consider what I could actually be looking for.
Lately I've been trying to see my possessions with fresh eyes. Every time I use something – a familiar mug, a weathered blanket, a favorite candle – I think about the story of its origins and remember the faces and places to which it is attached. I remember its meaning in my life and the need or desire it fulfills.
During this time, many of us reconnect with once rejected hobbies, old friends and long-forgotten rituals. We find that it doesn't matter when they entered our lives, because the value they bring cannot be counted in days, weeks, months, or years.
The same goes for many of the items that fill our homes. Our living rooms can still be the heart of our home, regardless of how old our sofas and coffee tables are. In our kitchens we can still have homemade meals and good conversations about mismatched dishes and fading placemats. Our family rooms can still be a meeting place for game nights, regardless of the size of our TVs or the number of new books on our shelves.
It's tempting to reevaluate our priorities and give in to the slower nature of our pandemic-filled days to freshen up our surroundings – a new set of speakers here, a wall hanging there – but before you give in to the buying impulse, think about the joy that you have in what you already have.
Look at your things with the same appreciation you had when they first came into your possession. Immerse yourself in the memories that they store and that still have to be made. When you use them, imagine it's the first time you do this and be amazed at how they make your life easier, richer and more meaningful. Don't let the promise of the new diminish the value of the old.
About the author: A Soul Awake's Emily Rose Barr is a lighthearted creative who pauses to … notice laughter, color, entertainment, open doors and finer details. She is currently writing for DailyGood, Baltimore STYLE Magazine and No Sidebar.
The post Cherishing the Old in the light of the new first appeared in No Sidebar.