Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Gift of Time

If you have not had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with an 80-year-old, I highly recommend it. I don’t know what their secrets are – but I do know they seem to have shed much of the worry that clouds the mind and takes the attention of youth. They take care of their needs, know their limits, and seem to be undauntedly cheerful. Is this the secret to getting to 80?

I saved a clipping about a woman who was interviewed at 98 years old. She said her secrets to longevity were: drinking lots of water, walking regularly, and getting rid of “stuff.” She said the more things you hold onto, the more it weighs you down the older you get. A friend of mine told me about her mom. When my friend’s mother reached her eighties, if someone visited her and admired a lamp, her Mom would say, “You like it? Take it!” She wished to lighten up, and it delighted her to know her things would go to someone who loved them.

I recently talked with another friend. She said, because of the economy, she was going to go Christmas shopping in her house. I told her about gifting in the Soviet Union. Because people did not have a lot of disposable income in the USSR, they would give you something they already had – something their grandfather had owned, or something that was part of their lives or homes that they wanted to share with you. My Russian friends were also great at making things – a picture from dried flowers grown at the dacha, a pair of child’s mittens, a crocheted swan. I wonder if we will soon get to the point in this country when we exchange gifts not out of pressure – but out of joy and delight.

Somebody told me that gems like to travel – to circulate from one person to another. Maybe things do, too. Karen Kingston, the author of CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER WITH FENG SHUI, said that even things can have a purpose – and when we stuff all our “things” in the attic – we are frustrating their purpose.

This inspired me to venture up into my attic. It made me think about the toys I was stashing away up there. I kept some of my favorites -- for my imagined future grandkids. The rest – I wanted to see them played with now. I brought them out of the shadows -- and sent them along. I look forward to doing more of this. Hopefully the “letting go” will become easier – and fun.
(Photo credit: Unknown; Esther, Ethel and Gertrude Bubolz)