Those of us who were raised by parents who survived the depression era often received lectures about the necessity of being frugal, repairing things instead of replacing, and working around the little difficulties wherever possible. Most of today’s parents have always wanted to give our children more than we had, to never make them wear an older cousin’s hand-me-downs, to always get the favorite new toy advertised for the holiday season, and to accept and expect the seeming planned obsolescence of many consumable goods.
We can forgive the overindulgent parents who want to see their children happy and even feel for the parents who can’t afford the expensive IN toy their child craves. But still the concept of mending clothing or gluing household items back together is quickly being discounted more often than not. Under the umbrella term of decluttering some toss all “extras” whether it’s mail that comes in, newspapers, a chipped candy dish, or leftover food. Homes are bought not with the intention of building a life there but as stepping stones to the next bigger edifice to fit more possessions that will be tossed at some future point.
Is our throwaway society so strong an influence that we find it easy to discard previously memorable keepsakes like wedding gowns, heirloom candlesticks and old live letters between our parents? And has this ease to toss stuff out of our lives moved on to friendships, pets and even marriages? Young couples talk of pre-nups even in the “average” marriage; while there may be justification when family fortunes, corporations or children from a previous union are involved, isn’t signing a pre-nuptial agreement a little like planning to get divorced even before you say “I Do”? More and more couples who do hit rough patches look to put more distance between themselves rather than working things through (with or without therapists) and making the changes that could save their marriage.
Sometimes that article of clothing is beyond repair or totally unusable, and sometimes relationships need compromises that one or both won’t, or can’t, consider, but we need to learn when to hang on before we decide to let go. We have become so scared of being labeled hoarders that sometimes we resist sentimentality and even practicality. Life should have some attachments, there has got to be a better balance where we can decide something is worth fixing.