Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Heirloom Spoon and Other Profound Thoughts

Once upon a time there was a spoon.  It was not a magical spoon, but it was an important spoon.  This spoon had traveled great distances and been with the same family for generations.  This was no ordinary spoon, this was the spoon to eat breakfast, and thus it held great power...

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated the story of the spoon a bit much, but we all have an item like that somewhere in our house.  It is something given to us by someone special.  It can be old or new, but it holds sentimental value for us.

I was discussing this amazing heirloom spoon with my friend today and I stumbled upon a deep thought. Before I tell you this deep thought I want you to know that I don't have family heirlooms, my husband does, but I don't. My friend was surprised I had nothing from my family and I interrupted her to let her know I do have stuff from my family.  The difference is I have junk, not heirlooms.  So here is the deep thought...

The difference between heirlooms and junk is the significance and emotional attachment we add to each item.  Just think about it, you can have two equally old items sitting in front of you, one with great worth and one destined for the dust bin. It all depends on emotional worth.

Now I would like you to think about your house.  How much space is taken up by true heirlooms and how much is filled with junk?  The junk may be useful or even pretty, but at the end of the day if it disappeared you would not really care.

I know it is the time to make and even try and keep New Year's Resolutions (aka goals) so I wonder how many of you are looking around the house and seeing your heirlooms/junk and feeling a little overwhelmed.  Clearing out belongings can create a visceral pain. It is hard to get rid of things which you purchased, or things your made, or things you were given. Things help identify us.  They probably shouldn't, but they do.

For some people, getting rid of belongings is a little like getting rid of a chunk of their identity.  They believe on some level the item defines them and by removing it they remove part of themselves.  To this I say "Hogwash!"

Years ago my grandmother's house burnt down.  Most of her belongings were lost.  Sentimental items right down to the professionally decorated Christmas tree were lost.  Photos were destroyed, mementos were reduced to ash and furniture was non existent.  On the up side, she didn't have an ounce of clutter when she moved back in.

The amazing part is she doesn't miss what was lost.  She was able to keep her mother's jewelry, as it was on the opposite side of the house and not much more mattered to her.  Her identity did not burn.  She was still the same quirky and fun loving grandma, even without her stuff.

I am not suggesting you burn your house down, but look at it through the eyes of a person who has lost everything.  What do you want to save?  What is most precious to you?  Is it an heirloom or is it junk? If you lost it tomorrow would it change your life?

We may not all have heirloom spoons like my friend, but we all have heirloom items in our lives.  Identify what they are and consider reducing the junk all around it.  It would be a shame if the spoon got lost somewhere in the midst of the junk in your life.  Just say'n.

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