When social media appeared, it was hard to predict the hunger people had for communicating; technology gave voice to a desire to convene together in one place and share our thoughts, feelings, and important events. The degree to which we now share these varied elements of our lives could not be overstated, but there is an area that is under-represented, and that is our possessions.
Our possessions play more than cameos in our narrative; they are muses’ and friends. The abrupt loss of important possessions is extremely painful, as the victims of natural disasters know all too well. An equally stressful situation is the circumstantial need to separate from possessions which have sentimental meaning. This is not uncommon scenario for seniors who need to downsize from long-term homes inevitably face such decisions as to what to do with their most beloved things.
How do we cherish and act respectfully towards things that have served us loyally when we can no longer maintain them? How to deal with heirlooms that have been in our families for generations? These are not idle questions for many, it’s enough to know that people maintain storage spaces they can ill afford and suffer sustained anxiety when faced with a need to dispose of emotionally important items that contain generations worth of memories. In an aging population, more memories than ever could be lost, as all the present paradigms of parting with possessions leave their stories untold.
Churn is a way of thinking about our possessions as contributions we can make to our communities; after all we can’t take them with us. In this way we can recognize their service to us and foster new opportunities for them to be of service of others, creating financial value, conserving the environment, and connecting us all with a common purpose.