There are things we save and things we discard or give away. As we get older, we are confronted with many decisions about what we wish to keep and what we need or want to put behind us. Many women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s start weeding through decades of accumulated possessions, memorabilia, undone projects and hobby collections, deciding what stays and what goes. Most of us do this shedding in layers, often moving from those items least important to us to our more sentimental accumulations.
If we are fortunate, we may have someone or several people to whom we may pass our most precious things and hand down our memories in the form of stories, journals, and photographs. It can be a deep exercise to think about what we wish to keep and let go of even if we are not yet ready to take those actions. It is especially telling to consider what we would save until last, until the end of our lives, and what we wish to pass on to others after we have left the earth.
Some of the things we will save till last are those things that mean the most to us: treasured personal items, photographs, letters, things which may not have value to anyone else. Others will be things we save solely or primarily because we wish to pass them on: heirlooms, jewelry, books, artwork or special memorabilia. So, there are things we save until last and things we save to last beyond us. Authors, artists, quilters, woodworkers and other creators may also leave behind a body of work or individual gifts given to others that will long outlast them.
The things we keep until the end, we keep because they are important and meaningful to us. We have motivations, feelings, ideas, and perhaps a sense of purpose behind our choices. It can be valuable to reflect on these as a way to better understand ourselves and make even clearer choices. We may find that we no longer need much of what we thought we needed to keep and realize other life accumulations have unexpected value. Let’s talk about what we want to “save till last” and what we want to “save to last” beyond our lifetimes.
- Talk a bit about your process of shedding the layers. How has your own thinking evolved about what to keep and what to let go of?
- At what point in time did you shift from letting go simply as a need to get organized and began thinking of it as a process of weeding down a lifetime of accumulation?
- Talk about one or two things you know you want to have with you until the end of your life.
- What do you want to save to last beyond your personal lifetime? And where would you like those things to go after you die? What do those things symbolize about you or your life?
- What motivates your decisions about these things? Do you have a sense of purpose in keeping certain things, passing others along, and completely releasing other things?