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Living mindfully, cultivating an existence that values quality, foregoing immediacy so as to have something of true value and believing in the fundamental goodness of whimsy and frivolity are tenets by which I live. I would rather skip lunch if my only option is fast food. If fast food is necessary because of time constraints, there are variations in the the fast food spectrum that rank higher and are (in my opinion) deemed more worthy. Otherwise, a spoonful of peanut butter can serve as fuel until I can eat something real. I am not one to accumulate things. I have two sets of towels in each bathroom and while the store displays of towels are enticing, I prefer thick, luxurious towels over the dollar store cheapos. But quality doesn’t always mean higher cost. Target sells really decent towels and a full set of their highest end product is less than $50. I dislike and avoid members’ only retailers that sell groceries and homegoods in bunk. If I had a family of eight, they make sense financially. I am buying for one 50% of the time. I just don’t need that much. But I won’t apologize or defend my taste and my preference for quality. I buy top shelf liquor. I buy fresh lemons and not the yellow plastic bottle of lemon juice. I prefer my fish from the local owned fish market. I prefer my beef from the butcher at The Fresh Market. I like my produce from the farmer’s market or grown domestically and not imported from the other hemisphere. I love style and aesthetics. Space and how it feels matter immensely. I prefer to read Dwell, Garden&Gun or Living over People or Time. But it isn’t all about consumption and labels. I prefer homemade jams or scratch baking. While I salivate over the pastry at Uppercrust, I can walk right past the display at Starbucks. Prefab food offers no appeal.

My point is that these things matter to me. They aren’t markers for affluence or elitism. Style and taste are not relegated to the wealthy. My decorating, homemaking, design and style preferences are eclectic. I am this odd amalgam of garage sale, thrift store, second hand, handmade, boutique and collector. I can find a perfect curved secretary desk in a boutique in Chicago at a steal of a price and pair it with a Thomasville bed covered with a bedspread from Target. I will hang plates from West Elm marked down by 70% on the wall as art. The room is pulled together with my handmade quilt. I will NEVER walk into a Rooms To Go and buy the display room for $1499. Ever. If I can’t refrain from embellishing or doctoring a recipe, who would think I could decorate without similar embellishments?

I cook with All-Clad and Le Cruset pots that cost a small fortune, but I use my pots every single day. I’ll be using them in twenty years. Was the initial cost outrageous? Yep! Was the investment worth it? Absolutely! But I don’t own fifteen pots. I own five. It’s not the accumulation of possessions but rather possessions that are functional, useful, practical and have a touch of whimsy when possible. Silliness if of tremendous value for me.

I like people in my life that are equally eclectic. I want to learn new things from them. They will show me new music. Feed me new delights. Introduce me to new sights. Challenge me with new ideas. They will gift a new author, send a new poem. Pour a new wine or liquor and encourage me to expand my palate. Try something new, explore someplace new, feel something different. I am not all that I will ever be. I am not all of what I could be. I don’t know all that I will know. I haven’t been everywhere that I will go. I haven’t seen or heard or tasted or felt all that I will ever experience. And I love learning and discovering new stuff and returning to things I have previously declined. What I once did not like, I may like now. The reverse is also possible. What I once enjoyed may have lost my interest.

What I am certain will never change is that I intend to participate in this endeavor and I’ll slow down enough to really enjoy it.


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