the life we live vs. the life we'd like to live
but now that we have a baby on the way, and we will become our own family, we have really been thinking about how our lives will be and what we want our child to learn from where we live. i think children are greatly affected by the physical surroundings they grow up in. people who grow up with very little tend to want much and people who grew up surrounded by things (this is me) tend to want very little.
my grandmother and my mom both suffered from stuff-itis. they both kept every card we ever gave them and it was a battle to get rid of an article of clothing or a stuffed animal. they like stuff and all the memories that surrounded it. chris' parents are both the same way. his grandparents grew up in the depression and had very, very little when they were growing up. so now, his parents want to keep all the stuff as an indicator that they led rich full lives.
i see nothing wrong with this... for them. but for me, and i know some part of chris desires the same thing, what some people refer to as meaningful reminders of their past are just things to me. stuff. clutter. my mom always thought of me as heartless when i complained about having every single piece of my grandmother's corningware and wanted to sell her massive collection of placemats full of cigarette burns. but this is not the case.
i am very much reminded of my grandma and her pink rollers and red estee lauder lipstick every time i look in the mirror and see my crooked nose that came directly from her. my grandpa is near me every time i hear myself laughing because i inherited my loud (read: obnoxious) laugh from him. i got my stubborn streak from my mimi and my business mind from my uncle pete. (long story: my dad's father died when i was three months old and i have always called him uncle pete. more on all that later). i don't need all of their daily possessions to call their memories to my mind.
i don't need to be drowning in things to remind me of my childhood or chris of his. i don't want my child to think they are obligated to keep everything from their past in order to keep my memory alive when i'm gone. i want them to know that their childhood home (and hopefully their home as an adult with their own children) should be full of things that add purpose and love into their life.
so it has been a struggle (and by some strange legal obligations some things have to stick around for now) but we have been slowly sifting through all these things that mattered to us in the past (like my collection of placemats and napkins and chris' massive hunting armory) and "getting rid of it" in order to make room for things that will serve more purpose in our new lives.
i hate the words "getting rid of it" because it makes it sound like trash or meaningless. and some of it is. but some things deserve to go to someone who will appreciate it and give it a new meaningful life. i want them to serve the same purpose for someone else that i can't make it serve for me.
we discussed at length making our home meet the needs of the life we actually live and not the needs of the life we'd like to live. perfect example: we received three sets of crystal candlesticks as wedding gifts. we are not fancy people and do not host dinner parties where crystal candlesticks would really be used on a regular basis. i think maybe i used them one year as part of Christmas decorations but since then, they've been in a box and packed up. i'm keeping them because they were a wedding gift but that is the only reason i can come up with.
so this year, i'm repurposing them into something that someone else will use and it will add meaning to their life. (i'm selling them in a garage sale...) because crystal candlesticks are not a part of the life we actually live. and honestly they aren't part of a live i'd ever want to live either. hello, cookout on the deck out back where we eat off paper plates. no crystal candlesticks there! that is much more my speed.
so that is where we are in terms of getting our house ready for the baby. we are doing a little every day and sorting through all our things so we can prepare our house for the life we will be living very soon and repurposing all the things that don't fit in that painting.