Monday, May 2, 2011

Wrapped in Tissue and Tucked in a Drawer, a Life Not Lived

by Sophie

CARPE DIEM

I was not always a seizer of days. I was once a parsimonious hoarder of things precious. Like so many women of my mother's generation, my lovely things were put away, saved for special occasions, shored up against some future in which I would be prettier, more elegant, more deserving.

My mother almost never indulged herself. As we grew up, my sister and I became more and more determined to bestow luxury on her, to force her if necessary to enjoy it. And yet she never did. I remember bottles of perfume, expensive cosmetics, gift certificates for manicures, scarves and purses - all tucked away in tissue and stowed in a drawer. After she had died, it was a particular heartbreak to discover these things - much diminished by then, as she lived her final years in a nursing home. Their saved-up patina had always faded. The perfume had evaporated, leaving a dried yellow rime on the bottle; the pretty things were no longer in style.

Here are some of the things I saved up: beautiful clothes, gifts from my husband, that were too expensive to wear "just" to work or for a day running errands. My first pair of real gold earrings. The good shampoo - I used Head and Shoulders for everyday. My own bottle of extravagant perfume, also a gift from my husband. This last I received before my daughter was born...just the other day, not long after her sixteenth birthday, I found it tucked away with a little bit left in the bottom.

You don't need me, if you are a certain age, to tell you the rest; middle age brings a knowledge of the brevity and fragility of life, the way the years slip through our fingers. Many of us (and how I grieve for our mothers, who never arrived at this day) take the silk blouse out of the closet one day, dressing for a trip to Target, and think "fuck it, I'm wearing my damn blouse." (Forgive the language; the voice of my personal mid-life journey is deliciously vulgar.)

The full translated text from Horace reads "Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future", and is a reference to drinking the wine that might spoil if you don't. More and more often I find myself doing just that. In fact, just last week I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate the completion of the book I am working on, but for various reasons the end of the book has stretched into the future. The prospects for the bottle, however, have not - I intend to drink it before the week is up.

8 comments:

Juliet Blackwell said...

Beautifully written, as usual -- poignant and moving and oh-so-true. May I just say how lucky I feel to be able to "carpe diem" with you??? I'm ready for the champagne ;-)

Nicole Peeler said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I'm always up for some seizing, whenever you ladies are willing. ;-)

Adrienne Miller said...

I think I have that same damn bottle of champagne. It's been there for a while no, just waiting. Maybe it's time put it (me) out of its misery.

Rachael Herron said...

I'm going to buy a bottle, too. And yes, grateful to carpe together.

Gigi Pandian said...

I'll raise a glass with you! Most of the time I think I'm pretty good at seizing the day, but I know I'm sometimes lacking. This is a great reminder :)

Mysti said...

Oh honey! I have a $300 strand (to me, expensive!) of Nihau shells that I carry with me everywhere. Will wear them more often now, thanks to your beautiful post.

Virtual toast to you!!!

Mysti

Jeorge Mackay said...

To finalise, Sunday payday loans are a best suggested financial aid which shows lender’s consciousness for their borrowers. Such kind of loans shows lender’s positive attitude towards borrowers and their needs in every situation and know more about our services please visit us sunday cash loans.

http://sundaypaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://12monthloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://weekendpaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://weeklypaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/

Richard Bach said...

In short, 1000 pound loans are a timely money support. Also, these are a stress buster which doesn’t let you have stress under any condition. To Find my other services please visit us.

http://www.poundstillpayday1hr.co.uk/
http://www.paydayloansdirectlenders24hrs.co.uk/
http://www.uk6monthpaydayloans.co.uk/
http://www.shorttermloansdirectlenders.co.uk/