Gwen Leron: 50 Shades of Green


Collect Memories, Not Things

The Story of Stuff

When I think about my childhood, the memories that immediately come to mind are: riding bikes with my sister, playing outside until it got dark, tobogganing, being excited to buy candy at corner store with the quarter I found on the sidewalk, seeing the Thriller video for the first time and being afraid to sleep, school track meets, skinning my knees because I was carrying too many kids on the back of my bike, watching fireworks with my family, playing marbles for hours, winning all of my sister’s marbles, her crying, me having to give them all back...

These are the experiences I remember and smile about. My memories aren’t filled with the “things” from my childhood because when it comes to the things, my mind is a little foggy. I do remember getting a colouring book that only needed a paintbrush and water to make the colours miraculously appear. I loved that book. I remember getting a life sized doll one Christmas. Her name is Cindy—my kids now play with her. My point is, the memories of my experiences flood back faster than the memories of the "things."

Have you ever seen The Story of Stuff? It’s a fast-paced, interesting video that teaches us where the stuff we buy in stores comes from and where it eventually ends up—so it explains exactly what is involved with making a product from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. It’s a little over 20-minutes long, but it’s such an important video that will get you thinking about what you buy and bring into your home. Go ahead, take a look:

What did you think? Eye opening, right?

The reason why I am talking about this is because of the approaching holiday season (but this thinking can also be applied at any time of the year). Think of some of the things we’ll all be buying for our kids. Things like this season's “it” toys that will be played with for a short time and then forgotten. In the past, I have been totally guilty of buying the toy of the moment. Nowadays, when I buy something for them, I ask myself these two questions: Is this the kind of toy they will remember when they are older? Will this toy be tossed aside after a few weeks?

Now, I’m not saying don’t buy toys for your kids, of course, buy them toys! But maybe be more mindful by thinking about how, what, and how much you buy:

Now back to the quote above: Collect memories, not things. Beautiful, right? My family has created countless memories so far through traditions and past vacations. Of course, creating meaningful memories isn't something that can be forced, memory creating moments are sometimes unexpected, and usually, those end up being the best kind.

How about you? Have you see The Story of Stuff? Are you mindful of the things you buy for your kids? Is creating meaningful memories something that is important to you?