I have spent so much of my life not using things.

Like this mug, for example. I have had this mug for 27 years and I have never used it. I kept it in my china cabinet so nothing would happen to it. And you know what happened to it? I forgot about it.

Maybe forgetting about a mug isn’t a big deal. But it wasn’t just about the mug. I forgot about college (or at least I didn’t think about it much). I forgot about that feeling when I put on that cap and gown. I forgot about the butterflies in my stomach as we waited to proceed into the Life Fitness Center (Voller Center, now I think), and scanning the crowd to find my family. I forgot about how much my face hurt at the end of the day from all the smiling.

I forgot about that feeling of having my whole life ahead of me and no idea what I would make of it.

In the month+ that I’ve been living on my own, I have had to make some difficult decisions: what to keep, what to give away, AND what to leave behind. I’ve cried. A lot, actually. Grieving for things I can’t keep and memories they were tied to and the things that won’t happen with them going forward.

But in that month+ that I’ve evaluated my life’s possessions, I’ve also made a conscious decision to use things. I won’t just put things behind glass to be revered (and let’s face it, forgotten). I’m using my college mug. I’m playing my piano (badly, and to the annoyance of my neighbors). I’m wearing the good perfume every day. I’m sleeping under my grandmother’s quilt. I’m wearing nice jewelry and not feeling self-conscious about it. I’m living.

I’m turning 50 in a month. Guess what?
I still have my life ahead of me and no idea what I will make of it.

But isn’t that what life is about? The not knowing. The potential. The day-to-day of being up and down. The first moments of being awake each day knowing you have 24 more hours to do good in the world, to make the most of each moment, and to be kind to yourself in the process.

So today I will drink coffee from my college mug. Today I will smell like Estée Lauder’s Beautiful. Today I will look around and appreciate what I have…and what I had. The past makes us who we are. Today shapes who we will be.

I plan to be fabulous.

Your bedheaded blogger,

Tell us in the comments below what you will take off the shelf and start using. Today is the day!