As we age, time appears to accelerate. With the passage of time, we often find ourselves reassessing what truly matters and what doesn’t. You’ve probably heard people say, ‘It’s just stuff,’ but for some, these possessions hold deep emotional connections.
Recently, I’ve been engrossed in watching reruns of the TV show ‘American Pickers.’ Pickers are individuals who delve into collections, junk, or various items, recognizing that what one person dismisses as junk may hold immense value to another. Typically, the show features an aging couple, an elderly bachelor, or a widow who has come to the realization that it’s time to part ways with the vast accumulation of possessions they’ve gathered over the years.
These individuals often possess vast acres of land, barns, and sheds filled with items, each carrying a cherished memory and an attached emotion. It’s both poignant and heart-wrenching to witness a picker extract a single item from this sea of possessions, only for the owner to declare, ‘I’m going to restore it, refinish it, or save it for my children,’ or simply say, ‘I think I’ll hold on to it a bit longer,’ even when they are 87 years old or older.
Sometimes, the item in question might be an old car, the same one they took to their prom or used to court their current or late spouse. Although it’s just an object, the emotions and nostalgia attached to it run deep. It could be a jukebox that transports them back to simpler times when they danced to the music of Fats Domino, the Shirelles, or Elvis during their teenage years. Perhaps it’s a pedal car that their son or daughter once joyfully rode, serving as a poignant reminder of a time when they were together during happier days. It’s a reminder that we all need—today’s elders were once young and perhaps even wild; grandpa may have once ridden a Harley, and grandma might have been a carnival worker or served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). In the end, it’s just stuff, but the power of emotion often prevails because we all agree that you can’t take it with you.
The younger generation might not show much interest in figures like Bob Hope, Shirley Temple, Nash or Studebaker cars, Gatling guns, Nehi pop bottles, or an antique Lambretta scooter. Yet, these items can serve as proof that you’ve led a remarkably interesting life, whether you served in the military, pursued a career as a Broadway actress, or raced stock cars. We’ve all lived our lives, and we all aspire to leave our mark, whether through our achievements or the things we’ve amassed, be it wealth or possessions.
As Christmas approaches, there’s a chance that the gifts you give could become cherished treasures, the beginning of a new collection, or the creation of lasting memories. So, this year, as you enjoy your favorite old Christmas movies, cherish the time spent with your family. Soon enough, you may find yourself downsizing as you prepare to move to a retirement community, where there’s only space for a few cherished items. Ah, yes, there was a time…