To Keep or Not to Keep: How Much Past Do We Really Need?
THE HOLISTIC CONVERSATIONwith Tisha Morris
More photos have been taken in the last five years than in our entire history combined. It’s estimated that 99% of those photos will be gone. Less than one out of 100,000 photos actually get printed.
As we move deeper into the Digital Age, most of our information is stored digitally in computer files and clouds. This is good news for keeping our spaces streamlined and clutter free. But are we losing our past along the way? What about heirlooms and memorabilia?
A recent Washington Post article, Stuff it: Millennials Nix Their Parents’ Treasures, points out that as baby boomers lighten their load, their kids don’t want their stuff either. The once-coveted handmade bedroom suit finds itself on Craigslist instead. Regardless of what generation you’re in, we’re all feeling the desire to live lighter. Silver collection and heirloom quilts, anyone?
Experiences are the New Commodity
The last several generations have evolved from Savers to Consumers to Experiencers. The baby boomer generation got stuck between saving and consuming, and now feel overloaded with stuff.
Now, experiences and services are the new commodity over physical objects (except for the phones, tablets, and computers needed to share the experiences). From a ten-second video to a 140-character entry, we share the evidence of our experience and then it just disappears into the ethers.
Is Social Media the New Present Moment?
Living in the present moment has been a sought after virtue for thousands of years in spirituality. In Buddhist philosophy, the impermanence of life and the importance of living fully in each moment is a primary principle.
One ritual that Tibetan Buddhist monks participate in is to create an intricate sand mandala over several days or even weeks just to brush it away at the end in a demonstration of the transitory nature of life.
Are today’s social media entries any different?
When I see my teenage niece interacting with her friends on Snapchat, I wonder if what seems like ADD behavior to adults is actually a series of living-in-the-moment moments. Om Mani Padma Hum suckers;) xoxo
Do We Need a Past?
Will younger generations one day regret not having taken the oak dining room set? Doubtful. Family photos? Probably. When you’re young, you don’t think you’ll ever be old, or that loved ones will depart. You realize there is more than the transitory present moment. With time you collect more moments to cherish, but also more moments to release.
Instead of reminiscing over photo albums, will we be scrolling through our Instagram account? Facebook has already taken this into account by periodically reminding us what we were doing three years ago. Personally, I’d rather know what I’m going to do today.
For those attempting to pawn items off to family members, it’s usually a subconscious attempt to bypass the guilt of giving away items to strangers, or worse yet, the dump. If this is you, instead, acknowledge the desire for fewer things or items that are more in alignment with who you are today, not twenty years ago. For the elected recipients of the pass-me-downs, don’t become the family’s dumping ground, unless it’s items you really, really want.
As the garbage dumps fill up, so does the cloud. Finding a balance between the tangible and digital world is personal to each person. Don’t take on others’ stuff if you don’t want, but make the scrapbook photo album if you do.
And to keep this post going for more than just this one moment, please share and join in on a live discussion with Tisha Morris on Tuesday, July 12 at 10am PST on our Facebook page.
In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived How well we have loved How well we have learned to let go. –Jack Kornfield