I wrote recently about the "100 Things Challenge." I got a lovely response from a new WordPress blogger who writes under the name LearnShareChange, about how difficult it is to get rid of things because of our sentimental attachments to them.
How horribly true!
I love things, all kinds of things. I am sentimental about them. I have odd little things from my childhood, things that (somehow!) I have saved for almost fifty years. One is a prize from a bag of Fritos sometime in the early 1960s, a little plastic coin with a picture of Laika the Russian space dog. It was a Heroes of Space series, and I loved that little dog.
Over the years, I have accumulated so many more things. Books, and collectibles, and clothes, and gadgets. Bags of them, boxes of them.
But – and here’s the funny thing about it – when someone sees one of my things and says: “I really like that,” I almost invariably give it to them. Without hesitation.
They are startled, but they almost always take it.
My dear friend Sylvia calls this “the recirculation of things.” She’s a collector too: dolls, toys, all kinds of things. But she’s the way I am. She wants things to keep moving. (Her husband passed away last year, and she spent a lot of time giving away things afterward; she's given me some lovely silver spoons, and a set of Bugs Bunny tumblers.) She (like me) loves to own things, and see them, and have them for a while, but that’s usually enough: when someone else says that they like the thing, she gives it to them.
As do I.
I love toys. I adore stuffed animals. I even keep them in the office. But when I see the child of a co-worker admiring one of the funny little bears up on the shelf, I usually let them know that, if there’s an animal they can’t live without, I will let them take it.
They are just things. Just silly things. I suppose there are a few things in the house I couldn’t stand to live without: my Laika coin, and my old teddy bear. And I think my brother still has my moon-globe in his garage; I was given it for Xmas 1969, five months after the first moon landing, and I still think about it. (I should ask him about that.) And a handful of other things, small things mostly, with family significance, mostly worthless.
Those things I will never give away.
Everything else, you can have, I think.
Fifty years from now, it won’t matter to me a bit.