“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
My great-grandmother, Minnie Emilina Siverhus, made me a patchwork quilt for my fifth birthday. I have only snapshot memories of her because that’s also the year she died. That quilt has been on my bed ever since. That was forty-one years ago, so the quilt has been worn through a few times and reworked by my grandmother and my mother – who have both said, “It’s time to throw the quilt away.” Throw. The. Quilt. Away? Are you kidding me? It’s the perfect quilt. It keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer – it is well-loved and magical. I hope she would be honored (if also shocked) that I have used it for this many years.
Rather than using these treasures throughout your life, is there anything you’re just storing in the basement, the garage or the attic?
- Fine china
- Grandma’s Quilt
- Great Aunt’s Crocheted throw
- Anything that’s stored away in a box
You have noble reasons for keeping these things “nice” for generations to come. But will your children or grandchildren appreciate them as much as you do? If you chip a gravy boat, will it be the end of the world or will it turn into a tale of who-dun-it you can tell again and again?
Which reminds me of a funny story…my Dad and I had ONE pillow fight (about 30 years ago). It was in the living room and somehow one of Mom’s hurricane lamps was broken. We’ll say it was Dad who did it. I think that story comes up once or twice a year and we laugh…well, Mom scowls (over her hidden grin)…the rest of us laugh. These weren’t heirlooms but we’re reminded that she hasn’t been able to find replacements since. But look at this great story we have!
This doesn’t just apply to things – it also applies to living. What are you waiting for? Is there anything in your life you’re waiting to do?
- when you lose weight
- when the kids graduate
- when you retire
- when you make more money
- when you get a better job
In an effort to rid my life of perfectionistic tendencies, I have started to just do things – jump in, eyes closed, feet first – because once I do that there’s no choice but to keep on going! Nothing’s ever perfect but I’ve been better for every jump.
Use the things in your home – or give them to someone who will, otherwise they’re just clutter. Jump into something you’ve always wanted to do even if the timing isn’t perfect. Your ancestors and mine would advise us to live (and love) all the way while we're here!
The quilt of many colors my grandma made for me