Let Go of That Sentimental Item Without Feeling Guilty About It

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As a lifelong book lover, it’s been hard downsizing my library. I can’t have all that book weight slowing down my future RV and taking up valuable space. After many months, I’m proud to say that I’m now down to about a dozen books.

One book that I’ve held on to for a while is Bringing Columbia Home, by Michael D. Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward. It’s the story of the Columbia Shuttle disaster on February 1, 2003, and the effort to recover the Shuttle and her lost crew.

Leinbach and Ward’s telling is both beautiful and tragic. Sad to say, however, I can’t seem to get through the book. It’s too depressing for me to continue reading. It would make sense, then, to give it away.

However, I’ve hung onto the book because it’s a token of one of the proudest moments of my career–being a conference speaker at NASA. It’s on my Top 5 list of the most important events of my life. I got a special memento–a copy of Bringing Columbia Home with a thank-you note in the front.

I used to think that giving away the book would minimize my memory of the occasion. However, there were a few things I told myself so I could finally pass this book along to someone who would appreciate it.

  • Never feel obligated to keep a gift. The person who gave me the book won’t ever know I don’t own it anymore.
  • Stop feeling guilty. Guilt is just a self-imposed feeling that only makes me feel bad. It’s not productive.
  • Only keep things that make you feel good. This rule was a deal-breaker. Every time I opened the book, I dreaded reading more of the emotionally wrenching aftermath of the disaster.
  • Find another way to preserve the memory. I have tons of pictures . . . and the vitae hit!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Julia says:

    It has been very hard to give up my library, and it is the first thing we’ve been working on downsizing. I’m replacing favorite books with e-books. I will be keeping some of my cookbooks that I can’t replace. The readers at work have been really excited to go through the books I’ve brought in. We’ve donated several books to our library system for their “Whale of a Sale” that helps them raise money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. unsettled essence says:

      I’ve been following some of your book-purging journey. I forget about bringing books into work, which is a good idea. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Julia says:

        You are welcome. I appreciate your post about letting go of sentimental items.

        Liked by 1 person

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