So often we hold onto material things for their sentimental value: a piece of furniture, a book, a trinket, a photograph. Looking at these physical things remind us of a person, an event we experienced, and of a time in our lives. I remember keeping the programme of the first opera I watched, and the programme for the first ballet. I have kept ticket stubs to concerts, bus tickets for rides in the various countries I have visited, printed photographs of time I have spent with loved ones, the first pair of socks my baby wore.
There was a time, however, when I had to let go of the many physical reminders I had of my past. Relocating to another country brings on a need to purge your life of things. Many tickets, postcards sent to me from friends in the past, gifts, pieces of furniture and curtains that have been passed down to me. All of these were let go. Boxes of my life were given away for others to read, to wear, to use. What I kept were some photographs, a piece of jewellery. And my memories.
My memories are light and do not take up physical space. I can carry them wherever I go. Often when I walk outside, or am busy doing household chores, I take them out and savour them. I will think of a person, or an event from my past. My brain has stored them and I can take them out at will to enjoy. I may not touch, see, and feel an object; but the clarity of my memory brings that moment back to me.
I still like to keep the bus tickets of trips taken in different countries, bus tickets which I will slip into my scrapbook when I make it up. But I no longer keep so many things as memories of events because I have come to learn that I do not need them to remember.
Do you keep sentimental objects to remind you of events?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Sentimental Value)