Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion.

Many months back, I made reference to this story. I searched all over but could not find it… And now I have so I am posting it. I hope you enjoy it and take note of the ‘lesson’ it shares. I certainly do not bother waiting for a special occasion!

A Story To Live By

(This is a choice message that was sent to me…please take time to read it)

gratitude-slipMy brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package.

“This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.

“Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”

He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life.

I’m reading more and dusting less.

I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.

I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure.

I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing.

I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends’.

“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food.

I’m guessing-I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good. Friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is…a gift from God.

by Ann Wells : Los Angeles Times

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. rose rilling on July 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Yes, this is a great, wonderful reminder to seize the moment; don’t hold back and live your life full out!!
    thank you paul.

    • Paul on July 19, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Rose –

      Exactly! I love that phrase, “Live Your Life Full Out!” In case you were wondering… Yes I do eat my dessert first sometimes! Why not?

      Enjoy life and (again as you said), Don’t Hold Back!

  2. Neeta on July 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Dear Paul, I do regret to tell u that this is one thing I cannot do “easily”. I am constantly “living in the future”. Not that I regret it, but time & again, my son tells me to use & spend freely, & not crib much about losing/using things. But its hard for me to be “easy” with things.
    But I am hoping that your story does help me & I do try to use “easily” all the lovely things given to me by the Almighty!
    Thanks a lot for your lovely posts always!

  3. Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur on July 20, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Boy, if this one doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, I don’t know a story that ever would!

    I’m SO guilty of saving things for a special occasion or a rainy day or (here’s a really lame excuse) … when I have time. I’m never going to have time! I have to “make” time.

    Books come to mind. A stack of books I’ve been wanting to read for years. They look pretty on the shelf — all lined up like good little soldiers — collecting dust week after week and month after month. If I don’t read them soon, someone is going to have to bury them with me, along with all my regrets and lost opportunities.

    I’m so happy you located this post, Paul, and thanks a million for sharing it with us!

    Life-changing lesson!

    • Paul on July 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Waiting like that never brings you the rewards that you deserve! There is nothing wrong with using ‘The Good Plates’ for dinner! Isn’t everyday a cause for celebration?

      Thanks for sharing, Melanie! Go spoil yourself starting today!

  4. shirley on June 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this story.
    I never had an opportunity to go through our son’s earthly possessions when he died suddenly at age 19. His Father’s pain was so huge he couldn’t stand seeing anything that belonged to our son. I returned home one day, shortly after his death to find a pile of ashes and smoldering coles. All our sons earthly possessions were gone, except for the lined, Levi jacket he had worn the day he left this earth. I wore that jacket, as it gave me comfort, until it lost his special smell and then I hung it in my closet where it hangs to this day, some thirty years later.
    I can assure you our sons earthly possessions were not hoarded, they were used. Nothing remained for “that special occasion. ” Perhaps the young know best how to cherish the moment,.
    again, thank you for sharing the story.

  5. Paul Taubman on April 11, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Every time I read this, I am reminded to ‘Carpe Diem’ – Seize the Day. I don’t need a reminder not to save things for a rainy day. I use the things I have and that I like. I have a collection of cufflinks – something people regard for special occasions. I wear them on a regular basis.

    Time is short. Enjoy yourself.

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