Have you ever looked at something, knowing you should just get rid of it because you never use it, but you just couldn’t bring yourself to part with it?
I often look at something, or more accurately I ignore things trying my best to pretend that they don’t exist. I suppress the obvious fact that they are taking up valuable space in my life and my home and that I should just let them go. But it’s hard to do.
Why do we hang on to these things?
Usually, it’s because they have some sort of sentimental value to us. Someone bought that item for us for Christmas or it used to belong to our great-grandparents or something like that. We think that the person who gave us that gift will be offended if we get rid of it or we’ll somehow break off a branch of the family tree by getting rid of great-grandpa’s old pocket watch that doesn’t even work anyway.
That’s why that old pocket watch is still sitting in my dresser drawer along with a bunch of other things that I’ll likely never do anything with. My dad passed it along to me a few years ago like he has given me many other things that I have difficulty getting rid of. It’s become a bit of a tradition when I visit.
I think he enjoys watching me pack up the car at the end of a visit as I get ready for the two-day drive back home and just as it seems that nothing else could possibly fit, he’ll pull out something like a pair of old Japanese swords. “Here, you should take these home with you!”
Sometimes it’s an item that he acquired at some auction sale and sometimes it’s a family heirloom. Either way, somehow I make room for it in the car and then can’t seem to part with it when I get home because my dad gave it to me. Typically, I know I will never use these things. The exception being an old cast-iron toy cannon that, when I looked it up online, I was surprised to find out the company still exists and so I bought the stuff for to make it fire. It’s pretty cool and loud.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate all these gifts, or any gift someone gives me, but let’s turn it around a little.
Why give someone a gift? I can think of a few reasons and most of them center around celebrating some event. When it really comes down to it though, I like to think you give someone a gift because you want them to be happy.
Tell yourself that the next time you’re looking at that hooded sweatshirt you never wear that you’re friend gave you for Christmas 10 years ago. Would they really want you or expect you to just keep it forever collecting dust in your closet when you never wear it? Probably not. If that’s the case, then get a new friend.
Even though it seems different, the things my dad gave me need the same treatment. I know he didn’t give me things like an antique radio complete with mouse nest because he wanted to clutter up my house and drive me crazy. He gave me that because he thought I would like it and he knows I like to tinker.
I would bet that many of us have at least a few unusual things sitting around that we know we’ll never use but just can’t seem to part with.
It’s time we just deal with them. Remember, whoever gave it to us thought it would make us happy and wouldn’t want us to keep it if it that’s no longer the case.
Your relationship with that person or the memory of them is not locked up in that stuff, so stop feeling guilty and get rid of it. Does anyone know how to get rid of a pair of old swords?
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Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2020
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