I recently read an article from the Washington Post about millennials who nix their parents’ treasures. I can see aspects of this story from both sides.
Several years ago, my husband and I performed a major downsizing effort to move west. It was an interesting experience. We have a large gaggle of adult children. Of things we wanted to find new homes for, some of the kids took a few things. We were surprised at several large family pieces we had no takers for. We sold those pieces of furniture, as they were not going to fit in our new life. It was a bittersweet revelation to us. Sad the heritage of the pieces won’t be maintained. Proud our kids could make those decisions and not take the pieces they didn’t want or couldn’t use just because they thought it would please us.
For us, or at least me, the downsizing project proved to be unbelievably liberating. We kept things with the most meaning to us, and things that would fit in our new home. It’s been good for me to travel lighter and have fewer things. Others who have gone through a similar process also talk about the freedom, which comes from shedding stuff. Perhaps the younger generation has it right. Hold onto things lightly and embrace life.
Yet I wonder if they may someday recognize the loss of some of the things they’ve passed on. We do genealogy research, so we have many photos, scrapbooks and family historical information. I have framed my great-grandfather’s original citizenship paperwork. There is only one original. I hope it will have value to someone in the family, as it is part of our roots as Americans. But I don’t know.
I’m sensory. I enjoy visual pleasures from art and photography; the fragrances of food cooking, flowers blooming or even autumn in the morning air stir me to life; the sounds of wind blowing through the tree leaves adds another dimension to the meaning of autumn for me; holding a book and actually turning the pages is part of the story coming to life; enjoying an old piece of furniture or dishes I remember seeing my grandmother use takes me back in time to her kitchen. Can one savor all those emotions without some of the things from those times?
For clarification – I do believe embracing life and all it has to offer is of far higher value than clamoring after ‘things’.
I look forward to some fun discussion. I don’t think there are any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, just different perspectives on this topic. Now for the questions:
1. As the parents, we aren’t ready to part with all those things yet, so how do we discern which things those kids might want later?
2. If you don’t want things, what method do you use to save memories for later enjoyment?
3. Are things of historical value important to you? Why? or why not?
4. How do you embrace life?
Have a great day — and enjoy life!