Don’t Save the Best

Metafilter recently linked to Thomas Whitwell’s List of 52 things learned in 2023. At number 8 was the specialness spiral:

A specialness spiral is when you wait for the perfect time to use something, then end up never using it at all. “An item that started out very ordinary, through repeated lack of use eventually becomes … seen more as a treasure”

I heard a story from my sister’s in-laws of a neighbour who kept all their best china on a dresser, rarely used. One day the dresser tipped over, broke everything and it was wasted. Then there’s a quote from Emma Burbeck, who wrote a list of things she wished she’d done differently. Among them, “I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.”

This is something I’ve been prone to, until I read Craig Mod quoting a friend of his about what to eat from your pack when hiking: “Always eat your best thing. That way you’re always eating the best thing you’ve brought.

Saving the best for last seems a somewhat puritain attitude, and risks never getting to enjoy that thing.

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