Do You Struggle to Give Up an Object that Once Served You Well? For Me, My Laptops.

Do You Struggle to Give Up an Object that Once Served You Well? For Me, My Laptops.

“We conceive…a sort of gratitude for those inanimated objects, which have been the causes of great or frequent pleasure to us. The sailor, who, as soon as he got ashore, should mend [build] his fire with the plank upon which he had just escaped from a shipwreck, would seem to be guilty of an unnatural action. We should expect that he would rather preserve it with care and affection, as a monument that was, in some measure, dear to him.”

--Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

I love this passage, but the old-fashioned language may make it difficult to understand Smith's point: when some object has done us great service, we're reluctant to get rid of it.

Do you feel this way? I sure do.

For instance, as I write about in Happier at Home, I found it hard to say good-bye to my old laptops. We'd been through so much together! They'd worked so hard for me, we'd had so many good times together! But the old laptops were starting to take up a lot of space. I took a photograph of them, as a memento, and then sent them on their way.

On my Facebook Live video yesterday, we talked about the issue of managing mementos. Viewers suggested a lot of great hacks.

Mementos serve as important reminders of the people, places, and activities we love, and dear objects make our homes feel more homey. As long as they don't get too overwhelming!

Do you have a possession that's no longer useful, but is hard to relinquish, because of the part is has played? A tennis racquet you enjoyed for many years, a dead cell phone...?

Wow, I'm just realizing that in my life as a writer, I really do burn through laptops.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.