I went to one of the emotionally oddest events of my life today. It was an estate sale, and I’m not sure if it was depressing, scary or motivational. Perhaps my emotions were heightened by the fact that I know a member of the family. Still, it was a real reminder for me to focus on what’s important in life. What will be my legacy? There are those out there, and we all know them, whose priority it is to amass personal possessions. Before you jump to conclusions, please keep in mind I’m not some bleeding heart lefty; if you got the dollars by all means spend them. I fact, I encourage you to spend obscene sums on my writing. But, I hope you have something else that provides value and fulfillment in your life. That glass bowl that you and your wife picked up on a trip to Europe years ago? The one you painstakingly hand carried on the plane because you didn’t trust packing it in your luggage? It really only has value because you were in Europe and your wife was with you. Regardless of what you paid, it’s the memories that make it seem so precious. Remember that an estate sale typically happens after the family has removed the things they want to retain, so all that likely remains are the items that were of significance to no one but the deceased. Once you pass, that bowl from Europe, the one you showed off at New Year’s Eve 1981 and that served as the ice breaker about your nightmare taxi story in Prague, sits on a table at your estate sale with an orange tag that reads “$7”, while people you never met comment on how tacky your taste was.
It was truly sad to see lives of people I tangentially knew picked over like a roadside yard sale. So many of the memories that had been built up over decades in that home were gone, and all that remained were the bed in which they slept, the kitchen table at which they dined, and the martini glasses they pulled out for only special occasions. There was a time when the bed was the bed someone made love in during that first night in their new house. There was a time when the kitchen table was the place someone found out their oldest son was engaged. And there was a time when the martini glasses were the glasses someone used to toast a new law school graduate. This morning, the bed was just squeaky and in need of a new mattress, the kitchen table doesn’t go with anyone else’s décor, and the martini glasses are praying for a good home that will keep them unbroken for at least a year. But amidst all those dark thoughts, it was a warning and a sign for me. Don’t get distracted by the baubles along the road. You can have fun with them, and please enjoy your one trip on this Earth. But, stay focused. Remember always to keep an eye on where your journey is going.