Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Objects of our affection - five relationship rules

  1. What would a burglar take from your home?
  2. What would you miss?
The answers to these questions may vary depending on whether you can afford good contents insurance.  But it's certainly worth considering what your emotional attachments are to the objects in your home, should they disappear due to burglary, or fire, or some other mishap.

Burglary - a case study

We've never had a houseful of interesting late-model or high-fashion goodies. (A houseful of other stuff, guilty!) When we were burgled several years ago in our previous home, they scored a mixed haul including my husband's work laptop, a knife block with an incomplete set of pretty good knives (!) but only thing they took that I cared about was my good jewelry.

One pair of earrings was a gift from my sister and the rest inherited from our grandmother, including my specially-designed (me and sis) engagement ring with vintage diamonds from her ring that I did not wear all the time...to keep it safer!

These lived in the beautiful wooden jewelry chest my husband bought me as a gift, in the bedside drawer. Beautiful, thoughtful, and for the record for any other innocents out there, obvious target for burglars. It took me a very long time to accept that the ring was really gone forever.  Now, I always wear the replacement ring, and the other good stuff I have is in a small box somewhere else that is less obvious.
Also for the record, handyman DH had our house secure: doors and windows.  The burglars forced the wooden window frames until they broke.  At a certain point, if they want to get in, they will.
Losing your stuff

Losing your stuff is actually the least of it.  Far more disturbing is that it changes your viewpoint in a number of unpleasant ways.  I have nightmares where I arrive home and see the strange disarray that means someone has invaded my home and helped themselves.  And after the burglary, I felt silly and naive for using this lovely box and thereby gifting so much so easily to the burglars.  Now I only use it as a decoy for old costume jewelry that I don't wear due to nickel sensitivity.

So neither my husband nor I wear the rings we exchanged at our wedding.  Admittedly, he lost his on our honeymoon, which must be some sort of record!


Should we avoid owning precious items, so they will never be taken?  That is one way of handling the problem, but it won't suit everyone.  You can miss out on some of life's real joys by rejecting attachment entirely.  So remember...
  1. Enjoy what you have while you have it
  2. Anything you have, you might not have tomorrow
  3. Owning more precious items than you can enjoy will make your life less joyful
  4. Losing a sentimental item does not mean the memories are also gone
  5. People matter.  Actions matter.  Memories matter.  Places matter.  Things... looks like they are at best fifth place.
And one more rule, just for me
  • It's dumb to let burglars ruin my enjoyment of a treasured gift, along with their other damage
So I'm going to start using my jewelry box again! But I'm still not ready to put it by the bedside...

Have you any other pearls of wisdom for those of us who really love our stuff?
This post was brought to you courtesy of the letter A, the number 12, and the Everyday Minimalist.

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