Saving for Tilly

I don’t know who Tilly is. I have never known who Tilly is/was. But growing up, that was the saying, “Don’t save (fill in the blank) for Tilly.

And it is good advice. Don’t get me wrong, you should save for a rainy day and have back up plans. (Let’s be honest, my back up plans have back up plans). But if someone gives you something…use it; enjoy it. I have friends to whom I have given pretty candles and they take it, sniff it and say “oh this is too pretty to burn!” What? It is a candle; that is its purpose in life. Burn it and enjoy it.

A million years ago (give or take a few days), my mother worked for the Council on Aging as a case worker. She would visit people in their homes and help them make the decision if they could safely continue to live in their home or other options needed to be explored. She would sit and get to know them, explore their houses with them to see what might be able to be adapted to allow them to safely stay in their home for longer. There was one woman in her late 80s who opened up the drawers in her dresser. The bottom two drawers were full of nightgowns that had been given to her over the years as gifts but were “too pretty to wear for every day”.  She was essentially saving the nightgowns for Tilly.

Here is the other reason not to save for Tilly. And it is selfish. I have cleaned out my share of houses that people have lived in for very large parts of their lives. All were normal homes… not talking the hoarders nightmare of TV land (and IRL because I have seen those too), but normal lived in homes. They had so many things in them that tend to paralyze the Cleaner with indecision. Keep? Recycle? Trash? Endless decisions. Exhausting decisions. There were things I wanted to keep for the memories (see the fork at top of the post) and things I thought I should keep for the memories (shirt my mother made for my first day of first grade that might actually fit my left arm these days). And it is a very difficult process, doable but difficult… and it becomes even harder when you find the Tilly Stash.  Those precious things that the person was saving for just the right time, just the right moment… and were never used or enjoyed.

Plan for tomorrow, but live in today. Tilly (whoever she is) would want that.

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