We’ve all been there, looking at our high school cap and gown wondering if it’s really worth holding on to. Or how about those old t-ball jerseys we’ve held on to for 20 years? Old prom dresses? “How cool would it be to show my kids?” is the epitome of a what if moment at the heart of it because let’s be honest, did we care about our parent’s sentimental belongings?
Maybe I’m a heartless soul, but I seriously couldn’t care less about my dad’s cap and gown, or my mom’s prom dress, or even my own t-ball jerseys, so why is it so hard to get rid of this stuff? Well, I believe it’s our ego. “They’re MY old jerseys and he’s my son so he HAS to think they’re the bee’s knee’s.” or “That’s MY prom dress, so why wouldn’t my daughter want to wear it to her prom?” If history repeats itself, as it usually does, our kids are going to care about our sentimental possessions about as much as we care about our parent’s sentimental possessions. We don’t want another person’s hand me down memories, we want to make our own.
So we have permission to get rid of that cardboard box we’ve been guilted in to keeping for the last few decades. It’s okay, it really is. Everybody is too worried about their own lives and sentiment to worry about what we do with ours. And even if they do care so much, offer them the box instead of goodwill and see what happens. It’s not actually about the things in that “memories” box, it’s about the memories that were tied to those items, and we can pass those down to our kids and grandkids through the stories we tell. I’d rather hear an awesome story about my relative crushing life than being forced to wear their glory days on my back in the form of a 20 year old sweater that doesn’t even say my school’s name on it.
Throwing these things out not only save our children some discomfort and embarrassment, but actually do us some good as well. When we get rid of the physical form of the “glory days”, it allows us to move on from them and create new glory days. We spend far less time looking at these items, reliving the best times of our lives, and focus on the future which holds a whole new set of adventures and accomplishments that haven’t been achieved yet.
So, not only is it okay to get rid of the glory days that have been reduced to the corner of our closets because we care more about them than anybody else will, but it will actually help us realize that we still have plenty of life to live that doesn’t include that game winning touchdown pass or that first kiss that happened at the 7th grade dance.
Make some mental space for new memories, then go make those new memories.