Best before dates – here’s when to ignore them

Best before dates

I’m making myself a coffee and just noticed the ‘best before’ date says June 29.
It’s July 10.
I smelled it.
It smelled ok.
I put it in my coffee.
Tastes delicious.
This cup’s for you Angela ❤
If it kills me, I leave you my collection of books and my good corkscrew.

Best before date cream in my coffee

That was my Facebook post a few months ago. I had had a conversation with my sister-in-law about the difference between expiry dates and best before dates. For the record, she’s a firm believer in paying attention to best before dates but she’s not the one who will toss out half the pantry when the contents are merely approaching their best before dates.

Don’t we all know someone who treats the date stamped onto the cereal box like it’s not negotiable and if you eat that cereal past that day there will be dire consequences to your health? Although I’m pretty sure the only consequence is that the cereal will taste more like the box than the granola you were hoping for.

I’m not that person. I make the following confession.

I ignore best before dates

I’ll cut the mold off cheese and use the ‘good’ parts for my grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I’ll use milk that’s gone off (not curdled off, just slightly sour smelling off) in pancake batter. I’ll eat yogurt that’s past it’s date as long as the foil seal hasn’t been broken and nothing furry is growing in the container. I’ll peel the moldy layers off an onion, rinse it off, and use it in our supper. Apparently I will also use coffee cream that is well past it’s date if it still smells fine.

Just so you know, I do have my limits. When I found the previously opened jar of pasta sauce with it’s ominously bulging lid in the cupboard instead of the fridge, I threw that out. THAT was expired.

Lately I’m starting to feel like I’ve past my best before date. My skin is lackluster and there are suspicious spots on  my hands that I’m pretty sure are not freckles. And even though I had my eyes lasered a few years ago, the reading glasses I perch on my nose from time to time (in the privacy of my own home when no one is around to see) help more than I would like to admit.

I’ve had conversations with several friends recently and they’re all feeling the same way. They’ve hit a certain age (no – I’m not putting the numbers out there) and things are changing, reminders we are not as young as we once were. But there are other changes happening too that are, quite frankly, as liberating as all get out.

This is my journey not yours

I find I am becoming less and less concerned with the opinions of the masses about my life choices. This is my journey not yours. It is my decision how I choose to walk the path I’m on and I am the one who will live with the consequences. I’m sure plenty of people will have an opinion on what I’m doing, I can’t stop that. But I will no longer twist myself into knots and hold myself back in fear of their disapproval.

Not my circus, not my monkeys

This is the principle where I respect YOUR right to make your own choices. I’m less inclined to dive into what appears to me to be a mess and ‘save’ you from making a bigger mess. Who am I to say that your choice is wrong for you just because it may be wrong for me? Most likely what you need from me is not rescuing but encouragement. You will learn more from trying on your own than you will ever learn from the ‘wisdom of my experience’. (Please note the tongue in cheek – I’m not that wise and unless you ask for my opinion you’re more likely to interpret my ‘wisdom’ as interference.)

Beauty is not about what you see

I’m no longer horrified someone might see my ‘real’ face if I go to town without my makeup on. I still care about my appearance and I’m going to keep wearing makeup and colour my hair because it makes me feel pretty. Pretty and beautiful are two different things.

The older I get the more I see the inside of a person rather than the outside. What draws me to someone is their energy, not how perfectly they apply their eye liner or fit into skinny jeans. I want to be around people who exude an aura of kindness or the dynamic energy of enthusiasm for life. I want to be with people who are beautiful, I don’t care if they’re pretty.

People and experiences not things

Do you know why older people long for visits and chats? It’s because they’ve learned that relationships and people are far more important than things will ever be. I care less about bringing home trinkets and souvenirs from our travels. Now I want to bring home amazing stories of the people we met and tales of the incredible things we did. I want to spend time with my family and friends; it doesn’t really even matter what we’re doing as long as we are together.

I see the heartache in people who attend funeral services and lament that they hadn’t seen the deceased in a while. Why not? What were they so busy with? Suddenly those things don’t seem so important but the opportunity has passed and now what’s left is regret. If you come to mind, I’ve become more inclined to stop what I’m doing and phone you. Sure I might send a quick text or Facebook message, but at least you know I’m thinking about you. Regrets are awful and avoidable – maybe not all the time, but I’ll bet a lot of the time.

Maybe the best before date on my youth has sneaked past but hopefully I’m a long way from my expiration date. Life is still full and rich and wonderful and aging is making me realize how true and precious that is!

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One Reply to “Best before dates – here’s when to ignore them”

  1. AMEN!!! I’m at that same stage, basically with life being too short to sweat the small stuff and worrying about best before dates lol I read The Hands Free Revolution quite often on Facebook, her mantra is Only Love Today. I believe that is in keeping with my own personal belief in God’s unending, never changing love, and I want to spend the rest of my days, exuding that kind of love for others. With God’s help of course. I’m not that capable or strong on my own, but I’d really love to reach my expiration date and have my epitaph read something like, “She loved with all she had, even when it was hard.”

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