Dear future life companion, aka little object that I have not yet met,
Before you cross the threshold into our often happy home, I want to celebrate that you have met the Hole Family joy/usefulness criteria. You are so welcome here. I will happily trade some of my precious life energy to care for you, to maintain you, to appreciate you, to make sure you return to your own little space, your special spot in our abode, the one where I always know just where to find you.
Thank you for all you will do to brighten our lives, nurture our spirits, lighten our loads.
You know, it isn’t any old thing that makes it across that doorstep. True, lately many leaves, more than you might expect, have found their way in, uninvited. These we put into the compost, returning them to their friends, a mutually agreeable outcome.
Other than the leaves, and the sunglasses given as a prize at the dentist that broke on the way home, or the wind-up car, a backpack stowaway discovered yesterday from some unknown source (list not exhaustive), to cross the threshold items under consideration for adoption are evaluated in light of the brighten, nurture, lighten criteria and as follows:
One. Do we need it? Will [object] bring joy or likely more aggravation? Do we already have something else that can be used to the same purpose? Do we need a new [object] in a theme/color or can we use a [similar object] we already have? What else could I do with the time that I will not spend looking for just the right [object]? Would it be nicer to take a 30 minute walk and talk to a friend or to store another set of holiday-themed [objects]?
Two. Could I borrow an [object]?
Three. Is there somewhere I can find an [object] in need of a good home? An [object] that already exists? Can I pay someone who is selling their gently-used [object] instead of buying it new?
Four. Is there someone awesome making beautiful [objects] who is trying to make a living through making great [objects] thoughtfully? Can my purchase support more creations by this very cool human being or organization? And if it costs more, did I perhaps save some money by asking question #1 so many times that now I can spend a little bit more to support someone putting beautiful, thoughtful, healthy [objects] into the world? Wouldn’t it feel good to see a beautiful, useful [object] in our home and feel the joy of connection to its maker?
Five. When I am finished needing [object], am I willing to take the time to respectfully transfer it to someone else who can use it or return it to Mother Nature in a way that does not harm humans, wildlife and the water, air, and soil that nourishes and nurtures our lives (all life)? Or do I already have so many [objects] that I’m maintaining that I struggle to recirculate them and/or their materials when I have finished using them?
[This concludes the criteria portion of the letter]
I love you, beautiful object. You keep me warm, you keep me healthy, you teach my children, you give comfort, you remind me of loved ones, of happy times, of connection. I am so happy that you have joined our family. I will treat you respectfully and appreciatively for as long as you stay here with us and I promise, as a respected member of the family, that I will take care to give you an honorable discharge when your time with us is done. You will not fester underneath wasted, rotting food in some huge methane-producing landfill or end up in a turtle’s belly in the sea.
I know you may have questions about some of your roommates and I can only say that many of them were acquired “before” which could refer to 100 years ago, which is cool, and also sometimes difficult. Criteria to address the stagnant pools of life energy collecting all over the place will take a lot more doing. And these criteria will too.
Anyway, glad you are here. I will find a home for you once we store all of the Christmas decorations back in the attic and find new homes for whatever other [objects] appear festively wrapped under the adorned (yet decaying) tree of communal object-exchange.
With love and appreciation,
This piece is part of The Stuffed Project: One woman’s quest to reimagine our relationship to the material world (working title). You can learn more about The Stuffed Project or subscribe to get updates in your inbox.