“We conceive…a sort of gratitude for those inanimated objects, which have been the causes of great or frequent pleasure to us. The sailor, who, as soon as he got ashore, should mend [build] his fire with the plank upon which he had just escaped from a shipwreck, would seem to be guilty of an unnatural action. We should expect that he would rather preserve it with care and affection, as a monument that was, in some measure, dear to him.”
–Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
I love this passage, but the old-fashioned language may make it difficult to understand Smith’s point: when some object has done us great service, we’re reluctant to get rid of it.
Do you feel this way? I sure do.
For instance, as I write about in Happier at Home, I found it hard to say good-bye to my old laptops. We’d been through so much together! They’d worked so hard for me, we’d had so many good times together! But the old laptops were starting to take up a lot of space. I took a photograph of them, as a memento, and then sent them on their way.
On my recent Facebook Live video, we talked about the issue of managing mementos. Viewers suggested a lot of great hacks.
Mementos serve as important reminders of the people, places, and activities we love, and dear objects make our homes feel more homey. As long as they don’t get too overwhelming!
Do you have a possession that’s no longer useful, but is hard to relinquish, because of the part is has played? A tennis racquet you enjoyed for many years, a dead cell phone…?
Wow, I’m just realizing that in my life as a writer, I really do burn through laptops.
Would you like a free, signed, personalized bookplate for your copy of one of my books? Or would you like to add a bookplate to make a gift more special? Or would you like to surprise your book group or discussion group with bookplates for all the members, when you meet to talk about one of my books? I’m happy to send them to you! Or I can send signature cards, to go with an e-book or audio-book. Just sign up here. U.S. and Canada only — sorry about that! Mailing costs.
Other posts you might be interested in . . .