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Thread: CS Monitor article: "One Day This Will All Be Yours"

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    CS Monitor article: "One Day This Will All Be Yours"

    I feel like we've beaten this topic with a stick, and recently read an article similar to this one, but I still enjoyed it.

    It's about how children don't want their parents' stuff--and how people downsizing have such a hard time of it. I liked this quote:

    “I had a china cabinet in my dining room with all my wedding presents ... my mother’s sugar bowl, the silver. I just loved it. I would look at it every day,” she says.

    Ultimately, she says, the lifestyle she wanted outweighed the things she thought she cherished.

    “Over the years, when you can’t hand it down, you have to let it go,” she says. She and her husband are now living out their urban dream.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Yep, I can empathize.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I've noticed that I'm having a hard time letting go of stuff that used to be a regular part of my lifestyle, but no longer is. When I was in my 20's and 30's, I was very social and hosted gatherings often. I've got a bunch of stuff that I used regularly then - cool glassware (margarita, martini, etc), big serving pieces, pretty tablecloths, etc. But it's been years since I've used them as I no longer get much enjoyment from hosting gatherings. And when I do have company, I keep things really easy now - pick up a couple of Costco pizzas and use paper plates. I want to reserve my energy for other things that I enjoy now. I don't want to be tired from all the shopping, cooking and cleaning after people anymore.

    Hmmm... I guess that's an acceptance of my decreasing energy as I get older.

    I had been thinking that if I donate to the Goodwill, someone else can enjoy these things. And now I'm thinking, "Yeah, some young person can have a party!"

    I wonder if the sadness in letting these things go is the fact that it forces me to recognize that my youth is gone and, physically at least, it's all downhill from here.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Other than a couple of photos of my parents, their siblings, and my grandparents, I really didn't want any of my parents' things except a gorgeous cedar chest that my mother had purchased shortly after they got married. Thankfully my mother was not at all sentimental so she was ruthless about getting rid of stuff when they moved from the house I grew up in to the condo they retired in. And then several years after she died dad moved to an assisted living facility and got rid of 3/4 of what was left. By the time he died about all that was left was a lot of well used clothes, a few pieces of well used furniture, and a few mementos like the above mentioned pictures. The Disabled Vets and Salvation Army took it all away in the span of a morning. I will be forever grateful to my parents for not burdening my sister and I with having to get rid of lots of stuff.

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Having had both my mother-in-law and father-in-law pass away within the past year or so, and having to deal with their possessions, this story hits home.

    They had been divorced for decades, each had large, well-furnished Victorian-style homes, and also a old-school beach cottage. And both were very keen on various relatives having various chairs, tables, cabinets, and whatnot that they'd "expressed interest in" over the years.

    Well, nobody wants this stuff. The people of my generation all have homes of their own, usually very different homes with different lifestyles in different locations. And the younger generations have no interest at all in "the family china", "the family silver", Great-Aunt-Somebody's Mother's dresser, and so on.

    It's just a nightmare.

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    I know that most people on this board believe that downsizing and getting rid of much that is family-related is the best way to achieve this state of enlightenment:
    the lifestyle she wanted outweighed the things she thought she cherished.
    but any lifestyle is partially constructed of things. So they might as well be things you find beautiful, and things that remind you of people you love and happy times, and enduring, or you would have to keep buying them, which would be non-frugal.

    If you want a lifestyle that fits in an Airstream, that's great! If you want a farm with sheep and a woodstove, and you have wanted it since you were five years old, who's to say that isn't great? Lifestyles are just that, and to some extent you get to choose, and to some extent, you life as you can afford, and if you live in San Francisco, then you're probably not going to have the space you might have in Savannah.

    I'd love my parents' John Deere tractor, but I'm probably not going to get it, for example.

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    Again, ASK your kids if they want your crap. Because I know most of the people here think stuff is a burden. But some of us (with our farms and our wood stoves - goats! Sheep are stupid) want the stuff. Dh is still sad about some of the things his grandfather got rid of.

    my 25 y.o. Dd was delighted to get my great grandmother's China as a wedding gift.

    otoh, my cousin is an only child. After my grandmother died, my aunt was putting a special (to her) figurine into the china cabinet and told my cousin "some day, this will be yours" my cousin said "I'm an only child. Some day all of this will be mine." And then she looked at me in panic and hold me I had to promise to help her.

    one thing my annoying mother in law has done right is ask. She usually doesn't like the answers, because we want the wrong stuff, but she asks. And on her last visit she brought dh his little antique wooden tractor (which is now parked on his desk with it's wagon load of tiny wooden hay bales.)

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    I got rid of so many family "heirlooms" when we moved. The funny thing is I don't even remember what most of them were. Was advised to take photos to remember them by but don't even want to do that. I think saving just a few small things with a story behind them is OK though. For example, when my parents married in the 1940s, as a gift they received a small storage chest made by a roadside hobo. Lots of little pieces of wood in a crazy quilt pattern - I suppose made from wooden cigar boxes. It has been in every house I've ever lived in and I know its story. DD will get it someday and having seen it growing up, I am hopeful she will enjoy having it.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I mentioned in another thread my going to CT to visit my aunts. One of my aunts lives with her daughter, my cousin, in a GORGEOUS old farmhouse. I've always admired the multiple built-in hutches with shelves and shelves of pewter platters, silver tea sets, etc. etc. Walls decorated with antique scythes and shabby rush chairs.

    So, while I was there, my cousin pulled me aside and said, "What would you like?" And I asked her, "What do you mean?" And she said, "My mom and I would like to give you something," and she waved her hand at the walls of stuff.

    It was such a kind and generous gesture but I couldn't even answer. I think I should have picked one or two things to take with me out of gratitude and respect, but I couldn't even do that. I thanked her profusely but then explained about my BIL selling his house and us having to figure out what to do with MIL's things, so I just don't have room. All I could think of was, "Gee this room isn't as appealing to me as it used to be. Looks like a lot of clutter."
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    From my father-in-law's hoard, I elected to be given:

    - A Norwegian-English dictionary, and a Norwegian grammar textbook
    - A crosscut saw that was in the garage

    From my mother-in-law's, I kept:

    - Another crosscut saw
    - Some log handling tools
    - About 17 mining claims on the backside of Pike's Peak where the ancestral family gold/silver mines are, and the trout stream
    - Her copy of The Joy Of Cooking with her hand-written notes and recipes tucked inside
    - One small black piece of pottery from P'ohwhóge Owingeh, which is apparently worth more than my car

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