In this post, we are going to explore the question of ‘what is worth keeping’ for the long haul.
Here we share ways to identify the things that hold true and lasting value, and how to uncover them in your own life.
If you’re looking for inspiration to declutter your past and curate a life of meaning, then this post is for you!
Things Last a Long Time
Four years ago I went to New York and I loved it! We spent a few days there seeing the sights but we spent an entire day in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Have you ever been there?
It is one of the most amazing places you will ever go to because it is full of things from throughout human history. These things tell us a story about the lives of those who used them and display the great beauty and talent that lies within us.
Seeing all these amazing things that have survived the millennia made me wonder what is worth keeping? How can you tell it when you see it?
What Is Worth Keeping?
As I got lost in the exhibits I saw so many things that were amazing displays of talent and beautiful representations of culture. It was like traveling the world and time all at once.
But then, I stood before some clay beads and some straw woven sandals that were found in Mesopotamia and dated back thousands of years and I had seen something like that before.
I had seen almost the same sandals and beads 100 times, on every school field trip, to the Pueblo ruins in my hometown.
Seeing those little things reminded me of my little plastic shoes and the glass and stone beads I like to make jewelry with. Yes, I wear shoes and make jewelry just like those girls hundreds and thousands of years ago did.
That should have felt meaningful. But that was not what I thought of at that moment.
I thought: “That junk is still around.” Yep. You can hate me if you want to but that’s what I thought.
Those sandals and beads weren’t amazing or special to their owners and yet hundreds and even thousands of years later that stuff was here in front of me.
I didn’t want my shoes or even the jewelry I have made to be around thousands of years in the future.
What Is Worth Keeping for 1000 Years
What I realized at that moment is this: Stuff lasts. I mean it really lasts. So the stuff we own and create matters. My plastic flip-flops are going to sit in a museum one day.
And that doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t actually want that to happen.
I felt the need to immediately go home and get rid of stuff I didn’t want the museum getting their hands on. It gave me inspiration to declutter what doesn’t matter and stop buying and making stuff that isn’t important.
So that begs the question, what does matter that much to me? What are things really worth, meaning what will retain actual value over time?
If I could live for 1000 years what is worth keeping that long? When I am gone, what do I want archaeologists to learn about me from my stuff? What about you?
A New Perspective
This simple question has stuck with me and changed my perspective these last four years:
What is worth keeping for 1000 years?
That question has come to mind many times since we went to New York. It gave me a rule to make decisions when my grandmother died and I sold her china tea cups. Again, it came to mind when we moved from our studio apartment to the guest suite at my parent’s house.
I even think about what I would want to hold on to for 1000 years when I think about my future. I have actually had a hard time coming up with anything that really fits the bill.
I mean, if I was living for 1000 years I think there would be really practical stuff I would hang on to like some really good quality furniture or a cast-iron skillet.
I would love to keep my wedding ring. I think my sewing machine and the dresses I have made might tell archaeologists a lot about me.
But that’s about it. Things just aren’t inspiring when put in the context of time like that.
When contemplating on this matter, one of my favorite worth to keep quotes came to mind:
Only the ephemeral is of lasting value.
So what would I consider worth keeping if I could live for 1000 years?
I Would Keep Love for 1000 Years
I think you would agree with me that in 1000 years you would want your family. That’s what I want.
More than I want my wedding ring, I want my loving husband at my side. Also, I would love for my parents to be there. And I want us all to be healthy and happy; you are worth keeping.
If I had to choose between working full time for a big house and lots of stuff or having a life full of love, I would choose love every time.
Love is something I would never declutter. It’s worth keeping. I would be proud to see my love for my family and friends in a museum. It’s worth it.
What else would I keep?
I Would Hold On To Learning & Beauty for 1000 Years
Another thing I imagine wanting in 1000 years is knowledge and creativity and experience. I have learned a lot in my life so far but there is so much more I want to learn.
Sometimes I wish I could consume knowledge faster but I also want it to become wisdom. I want to use my knowledge to help others and to bring beauty to the world through creativity.
That’s why I’ve decided that if I could live 1000 years I would want to hold on to knowledge, creativity, and experience instead of things. I would collect it. I would travel and work hard to understand other cultures.
My life would be full of long conversations with people to learn from them. Then I would try to put everything I learn to use and I would try to give back beauty.
What Do You Think Is Worth Keeping for 1000 Years?
What would you hold on to for 1000 years? If you were alive 1000 years from today what would you want in your house? Do you own anything right now that you would want in 1000 years?
Is any of your stuff worthy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art?
When it comes down to it, it’s not about the stuff. Even at the museum, it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the lives, and cultures, and hearts, and minds, and talents of all the beautiful people who have lived before us!
It’s about inspiration. Inspiration to declutter and curate the past so we can keep growing and striving towards our best life!
So remember that when you buy stuff and when you let go of stuff. What is that stuff saying about your life? Is it really that important?
Or would you rather, if you could live for 1000 years, hold on to the great relationships in your life, the love of your family, the amazing things you can learn, and the beauty you can create?
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I will never forget the question that came to mind in the museum that day. What is worth keeping for 1000 years? If you follow that one simple rule it makes it a lot easier to let go of things, resist buying stuff you don’t need and focus on the things that matter.
And when you follow that rule and focus on what is worth keeping for a thousand years your life will be a lot more meaningful right now. Make sure that every day you pay attention to things like love, learning, and beauty.
Those are the things worthy of remembering and keeping for 1000 years. They are worth remembering forever. That’s why they are worth focusing on every single day.
What about you?
What do you feel is worth keeping for 1000 years?
Let us know in the comments section below.
I love this line: “Hold on to knowledge, creativity, and experience instead of things.”
I will add it to my journal so i can keep coming back to it!
Thanks Joanna! I am happy that I wrote something meaningful to you.