second only to stickers, decorated pencils were the 3rd grade currency of choice. my collection was conventionally pretty—purple, pink, and blue in various combinations, The Little Mermaid smiling into space on a pastel backdrop, or straight up awesome—a neon yellow brontosaurus topping a classic white pencil. i never even sharpened that one.
although they’re improving, my parents throw (almost) nothing away, so while i was home for Christmas, i found several of these elementary school leftovers.
i’d seen them before, briefly marveled that my parents kept them so long, then proceeded with my day. but this time, i stopped.
why were they still around? why hadn’t i worn them down to the nubs, like all the stubby Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2’s i tossed each June when cleaning out my desk? had i waited for the right trade with a classmate? or a tidier pencil-box in which to house them? maybe for my dotage?
no. it was anticipation of “later,” that mystical but bound-to-be-incredible date. or event. or general worthiness, when i’d completely enjoy these A-list writing utensils.
except, that’s not how it works. because while it's great to exercise discipline and self-control, consider this. eventually, you grant yourself permission to break into what you saved/sharpen a few pencils, only to find the wood has turned brittle, making the graphite fall out. likewise, erasing sucks. crusty and dried out, the pencil top is useless, leaving rough gray smudges when you need a creamy, complete wipeout.
instead, strike a balance between reserving items for a particular moment and indulging as life unfolds. because @@after hoarding for the right moment, you may discover you have nothing at all.@@
what reward are you deferring? why? tell me in the comments! and tell yourself it’s ok to indulge now.
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