Saving It Up

On this 10th day after Halloween, my daughter still has all her favorite candy left. Here’s how this happens. I pack her lunch for school and choose 2 pieces of candy to include. Usually I pick her favorites because I want her to have a treat.

Then she comes home from school with that candy untouched and trades it out for candy she likes less. She wants to save her favorites for later.

I know learning delayed gratification is important for younger people so I’m not even going to comment on her behavior. May it serve her well while her brain matures.

But what about those of us whose prefrontal cortexes are fully developed? Because I do the same thing. I often have leftovers in my refrigerator. Given the choice between two items, I’ll choose my less preferred item to save the other for later. At some point my favorite goes bad – hopefully I get to it before then.

Or maybe even more pointlessly, I spend time daily looking for the several pairs of reading glasses I have left around the house. But all the while I have an unopened package with 3 new pairs in my closet that I don’t want to open until I have sufficiently used all my other ones. Which never happens because I can’t find them!  

It brings me back to one of my favorite questions. What am I saving for? Is there an inflection point after a certain age that we stop saving things up and enjoy them?

This week I received the news that an acquaintance died suddenly. A great guy who had just gotten remarried, had his first grandchild. He oozed joy, delight and energy when you were around him. He was in his early 60’s and was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but it was a slow-growing one that was caught early so the prognosis was good. Until he went in for surgery and didn’t survive.

The last time I talked with my friend who died, we were discussing climbing in Italy. I’d done a wonderful trip to climb the Via Ferrata routes in the Dolomites and he thought it would be a great trip for him and his new wife. But then Covid hit, life interfered and they never got there. And now they never will.

The whole story hurts my heart and makes me ask again. What are we saving for? Yes, I want to put away money for my kids to use for college. But aside from necessary prudence, I think it bears examination whether we are holding back our experiences, our feelings, our deepest desires until a later date that will never come.

Because as someone wittily quipped, “Someday is not a day of the week.” (unknown author)

Now that I’ve written this post, I think I’ll go savor a piece of candy. Thankfully my daughter’s favorites are not my favorites so they remain safe for her delayed gratification.

What are you saving for?

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(featured image from Pexels)


26 thoughts on “Saving It Up

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  2. The things I did not do because there was always time to do them later would make for a story of a lifetime of adventure. “Later” is finally here and I don’t have the physical ability to do more than scratch the surface. Choices have a way of becoming permanent and “tomorrow” becomes “never.”

    1. What an interesting way of saying that – “choices have a way of becoming permanent and ‘tomorrow’ becomes ‘never.'” So true! Sending best wishes to you on your enjoyment of “now!” Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Sorry for your loss Winnie, I also lost someone recently because of cerebral hemorrhage. It was sudden and unexpected, obviously. Since then, I started thinking that I shall do go out more often (COVID permitting) to enjoy some time with nice people.

  4. My hope is your friend knew our Dad Wynne. That alone is the assurance that our “Goodbye”s down here are but “Later”s when we’re reunited up there. “Later” was the last word my mother and I exchanged before she went home.

    Procrastination is the thief of “Tomorrow”, but “Someday” is the day of every week in Eternity.

    1. What a beautiful scene with you and your mom. Thank you so much for sharing that.

      Someday is the day of every week in Eternity. That is profound – I love it!!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! Sending my best – Wynne

  5. I enjoyed reading your post and your daughter shows some true self discipline which is a good quality to have. This is something that will serve her well when she’s older and has several tasks to do, some fun; others not so fun. It’s always good to get the not so fun tasks out of the way. That way they don’t hang over your head for the rest of the day.
    But I get your point about tomorrow is not a day of the week. <3

    1. You are so right, Carol! It is good to get those not so fun tasks out of the way. As long as we set aside to get to the fun ones too! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  6. I have lost several friends and family recently. Covid had sown doubt over so many of my choices.
    Very thought provoking post.
    I’m glad others are troubled in the same way I am with such issues, it help me feel less alone and far more normal.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends and family. Yes, isn’t it nice to feel less alone? I’m so grateful that you have read and commented because it makes me feel heard too.

      Best wishes as you think about what to save – and what not to save going forward! Best – Wynne

  7. In many cases, I have done the same as you, saving the best for last. And, again, like you, I wonder why I do it. Perhaps it’s an overflow from learning to get work done before any playing can commence. Now that I’m over retirement age and have all the free time I could possibly want, this type of behavior is absolutely ridiculous. Yet, out of habit, I find myself still doing it.

    1. I’m so glad for this comment, Glynis! Yes, it’s the habit that bothers me, not the discipline. I’m fine if I need to work now so I can play later – but it’s when I do it unconsciously that it starts me thinking.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Best – Wynne

  8. Perhaps it was my upbringing growing up below the poverty line, but I have never been one to save things for a “special” day. In my home my family eats off the beautiful Waterford plates, and drinks out the glasses, we make gourmet meals, go on dream vacations, and use the expensive toiletries as life is special and every day is worth celebrating. To me this is a form of self love, and to save for a “special” moment is setting a false bar for oneself….

    1. What a beautiful picture you paint of celebrating each day! Thank you for that gift – it inspires me to do more of the same!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  9. Very thought-provoking post, Wynne. All of my life I have tended to err in the opposite direction, putting my resources in the present, especially for investments in my children’s future while they were growing up. Most of the time I am not sorry for spending and living in the present, although there are times…

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