The To Do List vs. The Wish List

I have lost pretty much everything I owned a few times in my life. The first time was through a fire in a hotel I was playing at. I was in my early twenties and lived on the road. I had what I cared about with me, and all of it was lost. The second time, a few years later, I was in a doomed relationship, I needed to make a quick exit, and the few things that I had acquired in terms of tokens of precious memories were in a small box in the closet, which I neglectfully left behind. By the time I realised it, it was too late.

It wasn’t so much that I needed these things to survive, but they were my cherished items, gifts and letters from my sister who had passed away, concert ticket stubs from some of my favourite artists, poetry I had written as a child - significant moments stored away in a treasure box, ready to be sifted through when I needed a moment to reflect on life and its wonders. The third time was only a temporary separation from my stuff. I was living in LA but had returned to Canada for a brief trip to visit my folks. I was denied entry at the US border upon my return and it took me a year to contest it. My home, my life and my stuff were on the other side of the continent and I had no access to them.

These experiences reduced my need for stuff. I no longer trusted stuff, because stuff was temporary and fleeting. Because of these losses, I put my energy into experiences. I have always had a To Do List, but I do not have a Wish List for stuff. Occasionally a need presents itself and I go purchase something, but I have had no emotional bonds to any of my stuff, until just recently.

My Mother has passed a few items to me lately that already hold more sentimental value than anything I had in my home; an opal diamond necklace/bracelet set that my grandfather had given to my grandmother and my mom had helped pick out, a crystal bowl that is one of my mom’s prize possessions, pictures of my childhood. These items bring about something more than tangible to me, when I appreciate the necklace I feel how special my grandmother felt receiving and wearing it and when I appreciate the bowl I feel how proud my mother felt owning it and displaying it.

The items themselves don’t come with strong personal memories, but the experiences and the bond they create for me are indelible within. I think what I will remember most is that my mother wanted me to have these items, to be remembered through these items after she is gone, and to know that they will continue to be cherished. I suppose I will accumulate a few more items of personal value in my life, but mostly I just want to accumulate experiences. I think I’ll officially put that on my To Do List!

Wishing you a week of great experiences.

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