What a Way to Live!

“As I get older and older and older, my determination is getting stronger and stronger and stronger, especially when it comes to using things up.”

I am a Baby Boomer with an incredibly strong work ethic and a fierce willingness to roll up my sleeves and get the job done. But like the Silent Generation before me, I am frugal. Whatever I have, I’m going to use it, and I’m going to use it up.

As I get older and older and older, my determination is getting stronger and stronger and stronger, especially when it comes to using things up. Like certain toiletry items. My toothpaste. My hairspray. My shaving lather.

I can’t see inside my toothpaste tube. But what I have found is this: just when I think there’s nothing left inside, I can always get more. All that I have to do is press from the bottom up. Sometimes it’s enough to last another week. That’s amazing, especially since I was ready to toss the tube aside as empty and of no more worth. Here’s what’s even more amazing. After that week is up, if I start rolling the tube from the bottom up—rolling really tightly—I’ll get enough toothpaste for a few more days. The manufacturer would be surprised.

The trick?  Keep pressing. Keep rolling.  Always with full belief and full determination.

The same thing happens with my aerosol hair spray and my aerosol shaving lather.

I can’t see inside those cans, either.

They, too, seem to be empty long before they are. If I set them on the shelf and wait a little longer, perhaps an entire day, and then shake a little harder, out comes enough lather to give me a clean shave and out comes enough spray to hold my silver strands in place. This might go on for days before they are really used up. Manufacturer surprise, again.

The trick? Keep shaking. Always with full belief and full determination.

It takes patience. It takes work. Actually, it takes quite a bit of both. Needless to say, the toothpaste doesn’t squirt forth with full gusto, falling off the brush as it sometimes did when the tube was full. And needless to say, the shaving lather never goes flying off the palm of my hand as it sometimes did when the can was full. And the hairspray doesn’t rearrange my strands into an upswing as it sometimes did when the can was first sprayed. Simply put, the outcomes are by no means as spectacular as they were before the tubes and cans were nearly used up.

Even so, I always celebrate the fact that I found enough remaining inside to get the job done just as well as when the tubes were fully plump and the cans were fully pressurized.

That’s how I want my own life to be. When I’m feeling empty—when it seems that I have little left, perhaps nothing—I hope that my Maker surprises me with enough resolve to keep working my hands, my heart, my mind, and my soul—fiercely determined to keep on keeping on until every bit of me is used up.

What a way to live! What a way to celebrate life!

10 thoughts on “What a Way to Live!

  1. I admit that I sometimes feel like that tube of toothpaste or that can of shaving cream: ready to be emptied and tossed so that I can finally just rest and recuperate. But where is the growth in that? These last *almost* two years of the pandemic have felt like I’m slowly, but surely, emptying that last bit of toothpaste from the same tube I had in March of 2020. Maybe one of these days I’ll get a new tube. Until then, I accept the perpetual yet slow growth. ;-)

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  2. I am also a child of Great Depression parents. When I was a little girl I watched my maternal grandmother run her fingers inside egg shells to get out every last drop of egg. I watched my paternal grandmother put ever tinier saucers on the dinner table containing a spoonful or so of food. As an adult I learned that it was just the leftovers coming back over and over again until someone would eat them.

    From a novel, whose title I will remember in about 57 hours, I learned that the main character’s aunt (a southern lady) would say, “There’s always one blow left in a hankie.”

    I adopted the frugalities I could live with and let the rest go.

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