Every now and then I get the urge to work on myself. You know...self improvement and all that ambitious stuff. It very rarely lasts long as I usually forget what I was doing before I make any real progress.
Lately my ambition has been sentimentality. Now, if you have suggestions on how one can force oneself to become sentimental, please, please share. I apparently need all the help I can get.
I know that I must have been sentimental at one point. On top of my dining room bookshelf sits a hat box that is filled to the brim with notes, cards, mementos, knick knacks, drawings and other bits of flotsam and jetsam that document the life of a high schooler. Yet another slightly less full box sits next to that with physical reminders of my early 20s. But that's it.
I remained blissfully unaware of my lack of a warm, beating heart until several months ago when I found myself following Paul around a Michael's craft store as we waited for a movie to begin. He indulged me in a brief stop at the wedding aisle where I perused their do-it-yourself ideas.
A set of engravable champagne glasses caught his eye. "Are you going to get some of these?"
I probably should have thought before I responded, but why implement that habit now? "Ugh!" I replied. "I hate those things. Nothing is tackier to me than engraving your name and anniversary on ugly glasses!"
Paul looked shocked. "You mean you wouldn't want to have them? We could take them out and toast each other on our anniversary! Where's your sentimentality?"
"I mean, I...well..." I stammered. "I just don't like the looks of engraved glass, that's all. I think it's dumb."
"You have no heart," Paul determined.
I'll admit, that kind of bothered me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn't sentimental. It never occurred to me that I might want to keep stuff like that. I guess I just figured that when the wedding was over, it was over and we moved on with our new life as husband and wife.
Our heated discussion continued as we walked into the movie theatre. "It's not that I'm not sentimental. I just don't like stuff!"
"That's why you're so hard to shop for," Paul retorted. "I never know what you'll like because you don't like anything."
We did reach a middle ground, please be assured. I found a pair of beautiful, hand-painted champagne glasses that do not need to be engraved, but we can still take them out each year to celebrate each other.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. Paul and I were discussing invitations and how many to order, and Paul brought up something I hadn't even thought about.
"You'll get one to keep for your scrapbook, right?"
"Aren't you going to keep a scrapbook of all the wedding stuff? A memory book."
It had never once crossed my mind. Of course I would, but I was a little sad that he had to remind me to keep memories.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that mementos of memories are not just for me. Someday I might have grandkids, and I want to be able to show them pieces of Paul's and my past, to tell them stories and share those little trinkets with them. In the sunset of my life, wouldn't it be nice to pick up a knick knack and reminisce about the vacation on which it was purchased, the situations surrounding its history?
That will be my motivation. Not my own memories, but the history I can create for my stepchildren and grandchildren. The pieces of Paul and me that they might cherish when we are gone.
So...I guess I've succeeded in my first step towards sentimentality--admitting that I have a problem. Next step? I supposed I should get over my fear of having 'stuff.' After all stuff is only stuff until there's a good memory behind it.