We are at an age where our goals have shifted. I am not talking about a slight shift, but more of a cataclysmic movement in what we value when it comes to Worldly Goods. Commonly known as “stuff” or “junk”, we have accumulated collections of memorabilia and trinkets from years of long past adventures that have taken on mythical significance. Most of this stuff has no value other than the intrinsic value of good memories.
I’ve moved my Mythical Stuff and Worldly Goods many times over the years, carefully wrapping and unwrapping carved wooden birds brightly colored by 7th grade children in the Cayman Islands, painted maracas from Venezuela, a huge ceremonial drum from China, etc. Moving into a new home is not complete until the ritual of placing the treasured trinkets in a prominent place is done. There is a certain comfort in ritual.
But now, we are in a different season of life with a focus on the question of what will happen to that stuff. I can vision it in a yard sale where our kids will put a $1.00 price tag on it and tell shoppers that they will take 50 cents. So we are starting early to find homes for all these treasures and we are not leaving this legacy of stuff to chance.
We are full-blown into the process of downsizing and the next generation must step into our shoes and receive the gift of stewardship of “family things.” Or should I perhaps say, receive the burden of “family things”? Over the past year, we have passed down the old Irish doilies, the teacups, exquisite sets of china and old cookware, Baby blankets and 40-year-old, home-from-the-hospital outfits for the kids were unearthed from the cedar chest and given to those grown children. First grade artwork, letters to Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are now in the possession of their respective creators. We passed on the oak dining room table and hutch that my Grandmother saved for years to buy. It looks so treasured in Jamie and Scott’s dining room. Arnie’s Kevin received the knitted quilt made by his Great-Great Grandmother Westerman. The First Edition books that my Grandfather read to me and my Mother before me, went to Grandson Cameron who’s artistic soul will appreciate them.
Remember Better Homes and Gardens Baby Books? Those were hard to part with! we have told everyone that they decisions about what to do with the “stuff” is now theirs and it comes with no superimposed guilt trip from us. We don’t expect to see anything displayed and we promise not to ask any questions. But I admit that I do wonder how many of the hand crocheted Afghans ended up as dog beds. You kids think I don’t know?
This movement to disperse our Worldly Goods makes no sense in light of the fact that Arnie and I still enjoy going to yard sales. Maybe we relate to others who are trying to downsize and get a handle on the rubble in their lives too. We don’t often buy anything anymore, but we enjoy finding the occasional item that is on the list we keep.
And looming large on our list of Worldly Goods that needs to be re-homed when we are gone is Cracker who will likely outlive us both. Who wants the parrot?
And finally, Arnie, can you say, “Baseball Card Collection”?