Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The thing about stuff: living in a material world

I have a lot of stuff.

I think it's hereditary.  My whole family has a lot of stuff.

My paternal grandparents had two farm houses and numerous barns full of stuff.  Every thing they ever bought or received lined the walls and covered the surfaces.  My uncle took over the farm recently and is happily adding to the collection.

The maternal side had less and was tidier about it, but had stuff nonetheless. When we moved my maternal grandmother into her most recent home, she had two full drawers of torn pantyhose and over 20 styrofoam meat containers.

I used to think that my immediate family was better about having stuff.  I was wrong.  They just had different stuff.

My mother had scrapbooks filled with things she had gathered over the years.  Comics, cards, sayings, articles.  My father gathered books.  We tease that we didn't need to go to the library to do history papers, we just went to Dad's library.  That fact became less funny when Dad went to Ukraine and I got left with boxes and boxes of his books.

The rest of us aren't much better.  None of my siblings have met a book we didn't like.  It's a sacrilege in our family to get rid of books -- even for a good cause.  Add to that children's toys, school keepsakes, knick knacks, and more, there is a ton of crap out there.  I have my share.

What to do with it all is plaguing me.

I keep asking myself: Who is going to want all this when I die?

The answer for most people of what is going to happen to all their stuff is that their children will inherit it and keep it and cherish it.  They believe that because they worked to get it, their descendants will care about it and thus justify it's existance.

When The Guy and I discovered we couldn't have children, I started thinking about the things I have spent my life accumulating.  Suddenly, most of it became like an albatross hanging around my neck.
I am not quite at the point of having a garage sale, but I am questioning what's important after all.

Turns out, it's not what I thought.

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