Saturday, February 3

The Value of Things: Part 2

Today I helped my grandmother to go through some of her possessions in an effort to downsize. This is in preparation for a move to a smaller space and it is a move that requires as much mental preparation as physical. Many of the things that we looked at were once used all the time, such as a wide assortment of dishes for entertaining. Letting go of such items is deeply symbolic of the changes in her life and was met with a mixture of sadness and relief.

I left for my house at the end of the afternoon with four teacups. My grandmother already downsized her collection a few years ago (she tells me she once had a hundred teacups) and today we brought it from about 30 down to ten. The ten she kept were all "good" teacups that had been kept separate from the regular teacups and were all in very nice shape, showing little sign of use.

The ten I left behind were lovely, but I am also very pleased with the four that I took. For me, they will now be a symbol of my grandmother and they are also quite beautiful in their own right. I will use these teacups with great pleasure knowing where they came from. I am equally pleased to know that for the last years of her life my grandmother will be using her "good" teacups. I hope that she too takes pleasure from seeing them out more often and enjoying them with her friends and family.

I felt that the teacups were good lesson in value for a few reasons. First, the teacups that I received were probably quite expensive, but to me they are valuable because they came from my grandmother. Second, the downsizing of the teacups shows again the lesson that smaller quantities of higher quality often provide better value to us. And finally, because it reminds us that value comes from using something to improve your life. Hoarding something out of sight is as good as not having it at all. It's just the same as putting your money under your mattress!

Today is Saturday. No hours worked today.