Being Sentimental

Someone said something to me recently that I have been thinking about.  She said "you are the most unsentimental person I know".  It made me laugh but then I started thinking about it. 

The conversation began talking about how parents influence their kids.  Parents that are obsessed with germs and how that affects their children at 2, 8 and 20.  So, have I passed the unsentimental gene down to my kids? 

What is sentimental?  Feelings of tenderness or nostalgia. Yet, there are certainly different levels just like there is of any feeling.  Do I save a special outfit that I wore when I got engaged?  Absolutely not.  We clean out our closets every season.  New fashions, new clothes, new looks.  Of course there are a few things that I save and more as I get older but that is just probably because I buy nicer stuff.  Do I look at movies of the kids when they were young and get a bit teary eyed and laugh, absolutely.  Do I wish for the days when they were young all over again…not a chance.  I enjoy each year as they grow and look forward to each different stage.  Will I  feel empty and strange when Jessica goes off to college?  Will I feel a need to return to the work world, at least get a job that I get paid for?  No.  We raised Jessica (as well as Emily and Josh) to be herself.  It will be time for her to fly from the nest.  I just hope we gave her good solid values to carry with her as she creates her own way in the world.  Do I keep photo albums of each year to save as memories…absolutely.  I look back at them with nostalgia and tenderness.

Do I feel sentimental about pieces of furniture or homes?  No.  I guess Fred and I are always looking for the next journey, the next opportunity, the next challenge.  Maybe it is just in our genes. It is probably what makes us good partners.  As much as we are always looking around the corner and happy to move on to something new and exciting, we do enjoy the moment. 

So what have we taught our kids about being sentimental?  Everything we own is just an asset that is  easily replaceable.  Friends, family and relationships are not replaceable.  Those relationships are something to be sentimental about.  As you travel through life, if you can pick up one friend at each juncture, you are so ahead of the game.  Remember each relationship with fondness and bring along what you learned from that as you grow through the game of life.  Saving a sweater, a favorite chair or a piece of Grandma’s silver those are just items.  Relationships, well that is a completely different story. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. BTD

    Should we take this to mean the reports on Curbed were correct?

  2. MissPinkKate

    I am SO with you on this topic. Stuff is just stuff. I don’t need the stuff around to keep the good memories in my heart.

  3. anon

    this is a ridiculous post. your blog is 90% about ways that you spend extreme amounts of money. “assets” are easily replaceable when you sell ;our townhouse for $30,000,000. maybe your objects are disposable solely because your extreme wealth provides the security to purchase replacements with ease. you should be a little less delusional and a little more humble, in my opinion.

  4. Jim Fobes

    Sentimental? yup.
    I remember my home as an olfactory experience, holiday meals, the smell of orange, lemon and lime blossoms coming into the house on warm SPring afternoons. My dad coming home from work, a mix of smells– warm dirt, hot leather and a faint ordor of diesel and suntan lotion. Does this make me sentimental? hell, no, it just means I have some things stored away in my stroke-hard-rebooted brain.
    Jim Forbes on a little mountaintop in Rural San Diego County.

  5. wa

    In response to anon:

    No one is forcing you to read things that you cannot relate to, especially when you have a few million other bloggers you can choose from.

    I love scuba diving. So choosing locations and depths within my comfort zone ensures me that the time I spend in the water is enjoyed to its fullest potential.

    Maybe you should be choosing a different blog that you are more comfortable reading. Life is to short to aggravate yourself or atack others for living their life to their fullest. Water seeks its own level.

  6. scott

    This is very well written, Joanne. Moving to Europe was a real eye opener for me — not because of something “European”, but simply because I had to eject so many things I thought I had sentimental attachment to. Turns out, you’re right: the people are what are important!

  7. Jonathan

    I am more interested in the conversation that led up to this — the one about how parents influence their kids. I have always felt that a parent’s role is to prepare their kids for the outside world and holding onto them longer than is necessary (emotionally and/or physically) does them a disservice. What triggered this is when you said “…Parents that are obsessed with germs and how that affects their children …”. It made me think about those parents who create hermetically sealed worlds for their children, only to find out that they never developed anti-bodies (and now are allergic to damn near everything). If being sentimental is to want to hold onto everything, then I guess am not sentimental at all. But how do I reconcile that my 12 year old daughter’s prized possession is her great grandmother’s cashmere sweater (nicknamed “sherbet” because of its color) and my wife cherishes a menorah that has been in her family for 100 years? Still working on that…

  8. erin

    I’m with GG. Her sentimentality echoes mine and my husband’s. However, my in-laws are EXTREMELY sentimental about things. We once put in the goodwill stash a triathlon bag…a bag used to carry gear to a race…anyway, when they saw this they were rather hurt. I appreciate their feelings, but I’m still quick to give away “things” we do not use. I just make sure noone sees them!

  9. Shripriya

    I’ve been a lurker for a while, but had to say that this is a great post — when I left India for the States, my mom saw me off at the airport and I asked her why she wasn’t super-emotional like all the other teary partings next to us. She said that she was excited for my adventures and knew that we’d see each other frequently. That I should embark on my own journeys of discovery.

    To ANON – I think that valuing people more than things is a concept that cuts crosses all levels of class/wealth. And Fred and Gotham Gal weren’t gifted the money that they have – they earned it. You should feel free to do the same if what you want is an expensive home.

  10. jackson

    Anon, like all anon’s, is a sad person who cannot enjoy life.

    Joanne and Fred enjoy every moment, and their success in life is only very partially a monetary thing – I should know, I knew them when they had nothing, and they were exactly the same then as they are now.

  11. Guy

    Wow …Ive just finished a conversation with my wife about moving… We first discussed and agreed on a local property right outside a good school our children will attend.

    Both happy we also agreed on a few other pointers … But as it is now late in the evening I take another glass of wine and my wife decided its time for a bath (Tub) although in separate rooms……we still communicate…. Susan.(wife) shouts down..”anyway luv it’ll give us a great chance to get shut of some of the furniture and things in the attic we don’t need”
    Agenda?…. I think so!
    To which I shouted back “Over my dead body!” ..Im crippled with sentimentality that was spoon fed me by my mother …. my wife’s a strong headed woman…my mother thinks she’s clumsy and uncouth…Im sentimental my wife is not…the signes in my children are they are sentimental too …. when we grow old my wife wll be glad they are..Great Blogg… have added it to faves