My boyfriend and I have too many mugs. Seriously. Way too many mugs. Even if both of us drank two cups of coffee in the morning we would have too many mugs. We don’t drink coffee at all. Even if we had dinner parties with coffee and desert we would have too many mugs. We don’t have dinner parties.
For the most part the mugs get used when I’m sick and needing to drink a lot of tea. Occasionally my boyfriend will eat ice cream out of a mug. And that’s it. That’s our total mug usage. So how did we get this way?
Growing up, my parents always had an amazingly eclectic mug collection. They are both coffee drinkers and often had coffee-drinking guests, so it made since. They had mugs from NPR pledge drives and Mother’s and Father’s Days past. They had Mary Engelbreit mugs and Disneyland mugs. I associated those mugs with a well-established home. After all, it must have taken them years to amass such a fine collection. So when I went to the church garage sale when I was about 13, I bought a bunch of mugs. I figured I had to start sometime, and the mugs at the garage sale were so cheap. I must have picked up 10 mugs on the assumption that in five years I would need them.
I didn’t stop at mugs. Inspired by that time our video store was going out of business and my mom and I picked up dozens of VHS tapes for a dollar each, I slowly acquired over 400 DVDs. A well-established home had a large video collection, after all. There’s more. I have posters and candles and more fabric than I imagine I’ll ever use, all in deference to my future self and her established home. She would be so glad to have such a vast movie collection to pull from. She would be overjoyed at being able to pick from cupboard full of mugs every morning.
I wasn’t totally wrong. My future self would have been overjoyed at all of these things – if my future self had turned out exactly like my parents. At thirteen, this wasn’t an insane prediction. I love my parents and they have a wonderful life and home. I loved growing up in that home and will probably throw a joint fit with my sister if they ever try to sell it. And there are ways in which I still want to be like them. But having their home, their family, their stuff – it may not be one of them.
My thirteen-year-old self was planning for the house she loved growing up in, because she figured she’d be raising her own little thirteen-year-olds in it. Even back then I considered staying childless, but the house/husband/kids track was just as real an option. As that option drifts further from my mind, I realize that my home needs to cater to the person I am right now, not the person I may one day want to be. The person I am now doesn’t need so many mugs. She’d rather get her movies off Nexflix – it loads faster than the DVD player anyway. Someday I may change my mind and want the house and the family and the thirteen-year-old girls. But I don’t need to prepare for that just in case. I am confident I will be able to find more mugs. Maybe my parents will give me some.