03 Apr Family Heirlooms: should we keep them FOREVER?
I hate family heirlooms as a concept. If you don’t know what these words mean it is just handing down stuff from one generation to the next. There are two types of families, the ones that have one precious item that gets passed down for example a ring that goes from mother to daughter. Which is a beautiful thing to have as reminder of your roots and family history. On the other side we have the second type of families, the ones that consider EVERYTHING to be an heirloom. When I say everything I’m talking about full sets of kitchen dishes, appliances, garden tools, living room sets, bathroom un used toilette paper, whatever you can imagine!!!! (no joke, true story: my aunt’s mother in law had toilette paper from the second world war until 1990s when she finished using it!)
We are not going to talk about the cherished beloved necklace, that is cute and meaningful. Lets consider the second scenario for a moment. These type of family is were my mom grew up with and thankfully she did not pass down to her daughters. In Argentina as a general rule you would keep no all, but a lot of stuff from prior generations, furniture in particular because it was considered to be better quality than anything you can buy today. Here is the catch, it doesn’t matter when “today” is or if you have the means to buy better quality than prior generations, the concept goes beyond reason. Do you get it? Isn’t it crazy? People would keep safe and sound that horrible set of china generation after generation away in a closet, they would never to see the day of light. When you asked about it parents would argue they were too valuable to be used in dinner parties, what if they break??? The truth behind it is that 70% of the time the china set was horrendous and parents didn’t want to publicly recognize that. It would have been seen as disrespectful.
On the other hand If you asked, if they are so valuable and you don’t use it, why not sell it? A whole other chant began; how are you going to sell it, I want to hand it down, it is a memory, it is worth something. An interesting question that always go the same answer was “did you ever get it appraised professionally?” and the irremediable answer was “no need, my mother told me this is valuable it came from the old continent” and so on, you can imagine the rest.
At the end of the day you used to have 3 types of heirs. First the ones that didn’t give a crap and threw away, sold or donated everything except what they really liked. Hurray to them!!!!! The second type are the ones that rented a space to hide all of this junk away, but felt free enough to buy the furniture, paintings, etc.. that they wanted and the last type, that just put all the stuff out for exhibition and never had their way in their own house. Their house looked like a mixed of hand downs from different unknown family members that died in the last 500 years.
Lets go back to my mom, time changes, we all change, including our perspective on life. She was the third type of heir. The dinning chairs, sofas, un used dishes were all heirlooms. Finally a couple of years ago something happened my mom said “we are going to use the GOOD dishes, we are going to enjoy the silver cutlery, I’m going to start emptying closets and start decorating my house with what I want!!” I can tell you when the dishes started breaking no one shed a tear. The final nail in the heirloom matter was her argument of “anyway, when I die you girls will probably sell everything in ebay, so there is no point in not enjoying it”. It cracked me up because it is actually true. My sisters and I don’t hold the same love for the old stuff, we don’t like having things crowding our houses and are set on having houses that reflect ourselves.
So here is the real questions, why are you keeping in a closet things you havent used in like 10 years? Don’t they deserve to be honored, thanked and let go? Some else my actually be in need of that object you haven’t cared for in a long time. Do you think future generations will feel about those things the same way you do? Go an ask them, only keep what makes you happy and fulfilled, the rest is ready to go and has probably been for the longest time. Open some space for change, allow yourself to see objects in a different way. Most likely not everything that is an “heirloom” is meaningful or holds real memories for you. Keep what it does, im sorry to say the rest is just accumulation.
PS: I know my mother in law is going to read this, lol. I guess Ill just apologize in advance, though you know I am not huge on keeping stuff for the sake of it and I am kind of irreverent when it comes to tradition and all those things. I am soon going to make a post on collecting stuff and have to apologize to my husband because he loves his model planes, sport cards..etc.
#heirloom #letitgo #growthmindset