This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week – to read how that began, you can click
here for the opening post.
I’m not sure when the ‘favourite mug’ thing started but it
was certainly a thing by the time I worked in an office aged twenty-one. In that instance, I became particularly
attached to a red McVities mug designed to look like a packet of their
digestive biscuits. I didn’t realise how
attached a colleague proudly placed it on my desk after it was her turn to make
the tea one afternoon: ‘I like that mug’, I said; ‘I’d noticed’, she
Some years later, a counsellor asked me to tell her
something about myself and the first thing that came to mind was that I like to
have a favourite mug. I elaborated
somewhat and she said it was one of the most lovely things anyone had ever
shared with her. This perhaps overplays
it somewhat as there’s nothing elaborate or particularly special about it. What it is: wherever you regularly have hot drinks
(home, work, round a friend’s), select which of the available mugs that you
like the best. Whenever you are there,
try to use that mug or request your drink in it. Not even any need to go out and buy a new one. You could if you wanted but it’s by no means
necessary (I haven’t purchased a mug myself since the mid-1990s; it was from The
Body Shop, purple with a yellow elephant and the slogan ‘Now you see us – soon you
What’s the point of this?
There’s no great mystery or power to it.
All you are doing is drinking from a mug that you have decided is your
favourite amongst those available. Yet
strangely that becomes almost talismanic: there you are with your favourite mug
again…and again…and again. Like slim
golden thread weaving its way through your life, there’s a sense of continuity
but also of valuing your own preferences and idiosyncratic choices. For many of us, particularly women, asserting
our desires can be difficult in a world where we don’t always trust that we
have the right to choose. This can be
visible at the most profound level (abortion) to the most mundane (to have
dessert or not?). Favouring a particular
mug is like practising using a muscle, testing it out so it gets stronger –
strong enough to face tougher choices too.
Even if not, you have an inanimate but intimate friend to
accompany your days. Back when I worked
in that office, the cherry red McVities mug sat beside me on the boring days
and good days too; the day we read from the book box and the one where we had
an over-catered (and overwatered!) Christmas party; on the day we were made redundant
and many forgettable days in between. I remember it as fondly as I remember the
colleague who placed in on my desk that maybe-Wednesday afternoon. And that is why, my friends, having a
favourite mug is a small but beautiful thing to have in your life.
What about you? Do
you have a favourite mug? If you haven’t
then has this encouraged you to adopt one?
It could be the start of a whole new relationship! If you’d like to share with me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To read how the ‘This
is my real life’ week began, click