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"Collect moments, not things." - Karen Salmansohn

As my kids and I walked the hill behind our home for the 57th time of this quarantine, a conversation about what three possessions you could not live without was brought up. My immediate response was my children, of course, but they wanted me to name items, not people. At first, I struggled to answer, as I am not someone who puts much value into material items. To help me answer this question, I thought back to my mindset I had while decluttering my home, specifically personal items. ​Why did I feel comfortable giving away certain items, but not others? What is the key difference? Here’s what I came up with:

1. Gold Band: This ring was given to me by my husband, after the birth of our first child. It signifies Motherhood - a defining moment in my life. It represents my greatest achievements: my three beautiful children! This ring never leaves my finger.

2. Tennis Necklace: Throughout my life, I have been someone who enjoys being outdoors and staying active. To maintain my mental wellness, I walk my dog every day and I am always looking for outdoor activities to do with my family (got to get those endorphins going!). As a child, I played lots of different sports, except for one: tennis - it intimidated me! Maybe it was because, back then, I was more of a tomboy, softball player and would have been forced to wear the cute tennis skirts with the matching pom-pom socks​😉​. It wasn’t until after the birth of my third child that I felt an urge to try something new and different for myself. I remember seeing an ad for an adult beginner tennis class at the nearby park and I signed up, feeling both anxious and excited at the same time. The first lesson, I showed up in my black yoga pants, refusing to wear the cutesy tennis outfit just yet; I did not know a soul, and I felt like the new kid at school without a place to sit in the cafeteria. Now, 17 years later, I couldn’t imagine tennis not being a part of my life. I feel powerful and confident wearing this necklace; it’s my good luck charm on the court and it never leaves my neck!​​This necklace, given to me by my husband, is a constant reminder that trying something new may be intimidating, but “normalizing discomfort is the foundation of courage.”

3. Red Sweatshirt: This sweatshirt lies on a shelf of its own in my closet and holds a piece of my heart within it. My Dad bought this sweatshirt while my Mom, sister, and I were vacationing with him in Florida, only a few days prior to him having a stroke and passing away. I asked my Mom if I could keep it because it reminds me of the conversations, the fun, the laughter, and the time we shared together just days before he left us. Seeing this sweatshirt in my closet helps me feel connected to my Dad. He was truly the kindest, gentlest, man I have ever known – and he looked incredibly handsome in red. ​😊

The key difference is sentimentality. These items are not important to me because they are the most expensive or the most stylish. No, they are important to me because they are connections to the people and memories that I cherish. Speaking literally, of course I could “live without” these items, but I could not live without what they symbolize: family, courage, and love -that is what I truly value.

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