Why don’t I feel attached to people or things from my past? Some people hold on to little items (my view of trash) to help them remember times in their lives that they want to keep.

Made-up-but-close-to-real-example: A grandparent lovingly cares for a boy through the summer, letting him have great adventures. She gives him a wooden toy gun that he plays with for weeks on end. Fast forward about 27 years and he now has kids of his own. He won’t let them play with the toy gun because it has sentimental value to him and he doesn’t want it broken.

I totally understand his feelings toward his grandmother who may or may not be around anymore, but I feel that the point of the toy gun is to play with it, not hoard it in a closet where no one can enjoy it.

A toy gun may be obvious, but I really don’t believe anything is off limits. Coins, belt buckles, hats, guns, clothes, houses, pets… I could go on.

I wonder if my personal experiences of slight tragedy has anything to do with my opinion. A month before I was 5, my family’s house burned to the ground. We moved to new places every few years trying to stay where the cows and pastures were so my dad could continue farming. We had pets–dogs and cats, along with chickens, geese, sheep, horses, and cattle. Some we kids were close to, others not so much. But when they died, we understood the way of life necessitates those things, no matter how sad it could be. Once, our 4-H sheep shut the door on themselves and pretty much roasted on a hot June day. My sister and I had to haul them away to the dead pit the next pasture over. I was probably 11.

I wonder, though, if these events have built a wall around my emotional ties. I have a dog and we feed him, but he stays outside most of the time. I could throw out most of my things I own and I have a tough time keeping any resemblance of scrap book for the kids. Forget about taking pictures more than at important events. More importantly, I think the man-boy with the wooden toy gun is an idiot who refuses to look forward and instead reminisces about how great the past was.

Sometimes I wish I could appreciate things, pets, and items that represent relationships better, but this is how I feel. I really hope my heart isn’t as ice cold as it sounds. I roll my eyes at the petty connections people have with their special items they refuse to give up. And I LOVE history, so I feel there’s a conundrum somewhere here.

Heck, Joseph built an iron statue that won reserve grand champion at the fair with scrap iron from dad and grandpa’s farm. Lizzy fixed up an old milk stool from her grandpa’s childhood for the fair. And I appreciate those things. But more importantly, I appreciate the time we spent together preparing for the fair.

I also realize that I tend to leave memories that I cherish in the background since I don’t have anything to remind me about them. Honestly, though, I would rather have my extreme of tossing clutter and making new memories rather than hoarding things and looking to the past all the time.

Please, argue with me!


10 thoughts on “Unattached

  1. I don’t have anything from my childhood that I’ve kept either. I have to agree with Chrissy-that most of the nick-knacks were hand me downs. The one thing in my house that I am materialistically attached to is Robert’s Entertainment Center (the one with the record player) and that’s because my two memories of him were 1) him letting me “drive” the dirt road to their house when even Erica & Kevin hadn’t got to yet, and 2) How awful his funeral was. That piece is from a bygone time; made sturdily and is so different from anything I have now. So much has changed since then! I loved visiting Aunt Karen’s A-Frame!! Not really a “hand me down” that one of my sister’s had already used, though. Now, I would say the thing Adam is most attached to is his Head board, dresser, and nightstand he made in high school. Weird–we’re both attached to furniture!! Of course, I would miss materialistic things in my house if I had to leave–but it wouldn’t crush me.


  2. You should read the book about love languages. Obviously “things” or “gifts” ate not your love language. Something else is though. There is no shame in how you feel. We always must remember to respect what is important to others, or what their love language is. I gave up wanting nice things a long time ago. My children break everything I have of value so I buy stuff on clearance now!!!!


    • You are absolutely right. In fact I hate getting flowers because they just die. But I shouldn’t judge others who enjoy them.

      My concern, I guess, is when we sacrifice the here and now for reminiscing about the past. And that can happen without the “stuff” factor as well.


  3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being attached to material things… In fact, I’d consider it more of a virtue than a vice. There are so many people who are more wirried about “stuff,” than they are about family, friends, and the relationships that define who they are. They work and work and work to buy expensive cars, houses, boats, motor homes… Only to not have any time left to enjoy these things with family and friends. There are plenty of stories of old, decrepid, wealthy individuals who have no friends or family willing to spend time with them.

    The only thing that I’m “attached” to (or more accurately, holds some sentimental value) is the .22 of Grandpa Ptacek’s that Grandma took back… And I don’t even have the thing! But I think that’s mostly because it is the only thing of Grandpa’s that we have left and epitomizes an era that we’d be lucky to return to.


  4. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

    Perhaps comparing yourself to a child in a man’s body isn’t the best way to figure out if you are doing it wrong.


    • Do you have anything you hold on to? I can’t think of anything I have that holds special sentimental value except my kids’ school pictures hanging up on the wall.

      I worry that I don’t care enough to create a special remembrance for special occasions.


      • No. I’ve moved tons, and though I bring crap with me from place to place, I really think if we had to pick up and move with only the clothes on our backs (and money to replace needed things) I wouldn’t miss any material object we have. Well, I would miss Bandit, though. Never thought I would be a dog person.

        We had to share everything, and lots of things we got (the younger kids especially) were hand me downs, so it makes sense that one certain thing doesn’t mean a lot to us. Also, do you have something from your grandma/grandpa that represents a special time you spent with them? I don’t. We didn’t spend hardly any one on one time with any of our grandparents. Except, I do wish I had the bridge board I used to play on with Grandpa Holmes. That would be something I would want to keep (if I had it), because that is one of the few things I remember doing with him that was just him and me.


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