At the height of my collecting, we had a wonderful old – huge – Queen Anne Victorian house. I took it as a personal challenge to fill it up with goodies. The one thing about my collecting is that I never bought anything I didn’t simply love. I have been known to watch a piece for several years before purchasing it.
My oldest son once told someone that “Mom knows everything she owns. If it was something she bought, she knows where she bought it, why she bought it, and how much she paid for it. If it was a gift, she knows who gave it to her and for what occasion.” That pretty well sums it up. My home is full of wonderful things!
And, therein, lies the problem of not being able to get rid of things. I know them all. They are inanimate objects, true, but they are like old friends. They are so full of memories it would be like parting with a lifelong companion. I know why old people want to stay in their homes even after it is not practical. They are surrounded by the familiar and their memories. I understand that but I have always been this way. This is not age-related with me (she says with a sly smile!)
I don’t collect anymore. I don’t have the space in my little abode. After downsizing to a house about four times smaller, I decided to give some of my collections to my children. I knew what they had always said they wanted and just gave those things to them. They, likewise, are sentimental and have precious memories. But my little house is still stuffed to the brim with too many things. Things I cannot part with because all I have to do is look at them to recall the people, now long dead, who had once owned them. The box of fancy hankies from both my grandmothers. My father’s pipe. A figurine given to me by a dear friend. A pressed flower from a ‘first bouquet’ from special someone.
Most of these things mean nothing to anyone but me. And I realize that, when I am dead, many of my lovely possessions will end up in a resale shop or in the trash. No one will want them. And I’m actually okay with that.
I once read an article about this very thing. The title was “No One Wants Grandma’s Fur Coat” or something to that effect. This is absolutely true. Don’t expect people to love the same things you do. Or build a shrine to you out of your old stuff after you’re gone. Live your own life and let them live theirs. Surround yourself with the things you love but don’t exist just in the memories of the old things. Enjoy the time you have while you still can breathe in the rarefied air of this thing called life. It doesn’t last forever.
Make new friends, take up a new hobby, do something you’ve never done before but always wanted to. Live a life that when someone picks up that figurine you gave them years ago, they will be so filled with precious memories of you that they can’t part with it. That’s a good legacy, I think.
Am I sentimental? You’d better believe it! And I wouldn’t have it any other way! But I have a life that I love living. I do things! I enjoy my time here on Earth and I hope, while I’m doing that, I’m helping others create positive memories as well!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to plan my ziplining trip!