When I was growing up, we had Erma Bombeck for advice. Erma had an answer for everything. Divorce, uncomfortable social situations, etiquette: Erma had you covered. These days, the internet has made women like Erma irrelevant. She would’ve been lost in the internet maelstrom. It’s kind of sad. In the olden days, we relied on newspaper columns, and when someone like Erma, Dear Abby, Ann Landers, or Hints from Heloise posted, it seemed relevant and applicable. Nowadays everyone’s an expert, there are “curators” and “it” people and gurus everywhere. But old, tried-and-true advice still lives.

I searched on Google but couldn’t find a link for the Erma Bombeck story I’m about to reference. The gist was that a woman received some beautiful candles as a gift; they were SO beautiful that she felt she should put them away for special occasions. Well, lo and behold, the years passed, and she never brought the candles out; she forgot about them. Many years later, she cleaned out the closet, and the candles had melted down and disintegrated. How sad is that? Let’s break this down. In a nutshell, this poor woman deprived herself of the joy of this gift, for a “special occasion” that never arrived. Things and objects are meant to be used. That is their sole purpose.

Do we put too much emphasis on “special occasions”?

What is a special occasion, anyway? An anniversary or birthday? A special guest? I’m going to call bullshit. Guess what? EVERY SINGLE DAY is a special occasion. You woke up. That is reason enough to celebrate. We only have so many days on this earth. Waking up is enough reason to celebrate. It’s Wednesday? Break out the champagne! Have a glass of bubbly, because you made it through half of a rough week!

Do you have “special” china, dishes, or flatware? Ask yourself why you have them. Do you have a lot of dinner parties? Do you only bring it out for Thanksgiving? Do you have special wine glasses that you only use for company? Stop now. Use these things every day. They are THINGS.

We’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time.

Are you heating up a frozen dinner in your microwave tonight? Go ahead and heat it up. Spoon out the dinner on your best plates. You know why? YOU DESERVE IT.

Go to a thrift store. Check out their fancy wine glasses. Buy one, or a whole set. Even if it’s just you, and you’re drinking alone, you deserve the best. Have a glass of wine in your fancy wine glass. Have it while wearing a feather boa, even if no one will see you. Get some candlesticks and have a candle lit dinner on your coffee table.

Make a place setting for dinner…even if it’s just you/your partner.

Try cloth napkins. Instant fancy!

Wear silk pajamas.

Get the best bed sheets and most comfortable pillows you can find.

Wear red lipstick to go check the mail.

Make yourself feel pretty, whatever that means to you.


Get rid of things that just take up space in your life or don’t make you happy.

We aren’t guaranteed any days in the life. Make the of of it. It’s up to you to define what that means for you, but remind yourself to enjoy every minute, and don’t put things away that bring you joy. Use them. Remember the lady with the melted candles, and don’t let that be you. If you break a dish or a glass or a thing, shrug your shoulders, and remember that you enjoyed that thing, and it gave you a memory.

Treat yourself every single day. Remember: you deserve it.

by Stacie Herndon

Stacie is a writer, graphic designer, and web developer. Legend has it that she was born old. She has always loved outrageous older ladies, often befriending them over people her own age. She is a devoted Francophile, loves a good Sauvignon Blanc and can mix a mean cocktail. She will have red hair until the day she departs this earth.