The Value of Things

I was so proud that I managed to pack my whole life into 3 whole suitcases before I left the states. Now, looking at it all, after carefully ensuring nothing was broken in transit, I am overwhelmed by emotion.

In the span of a moment I went from “I fit my whole life into three bags” to “My whole life is in three bags.” It was with this delayed reaction that I was struck and, admittedly, I cried a little.

Looking through and unpacking each and every small token that I thought to bring with me, I concluded that, for all that three bags seems like a lot, I didn’t bring anything that I thought “what a waste of space” or that “I could have fit something more important in here if I didn’t bring this.”

I set out packing, I remember, to bring only the things that mattered – the dolls that were given to me by my parents and grandmothers (though not all of them, I only took one for each), things that I inherited from my great-grandparents, select bits of jewelry, a bear that my FiancĂ© gave me, gifts from the Bridal Shower that was thrown for me months before I left, cookbooks, a few books that I especially thought were important or otherwise cherished… the list, long as it would be, didn’t amount to a lot once I had it all out.

That’s what I decided to do, and I certainly got it. As strange as it is, if I had decided to fill another bag, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I wouldn’t be able to find enough things of sentimental value to pack. Oh, to be sure, if I had more room, my friends and family would have happily given me plenty of things to fill in the gaps…

But those things wouldn’t have mattered to me, I would have only taken them out of guilt. The things that matter, the things that count, have more than a monetary worth. You can’t put a price tag on them. They are the things that you got at a special event from a loved-one; the things you scraped and fought hard to get on your own; the hallmarks of your life – the pieces that are milestones to the years of your life.

No one can really know what the value of one thing is to another person – no one can really guess it’s worth. Ticket stubs from that first date, or the badge clip that held your ID tag at your favorite job… These things come with memories that make them special. Even if the item was lost or destroyed – which can happen, as we all know – the memory still lives on; just now a bit more bittersweet.

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