What will you carry?


“It’s Not about Me — Questions for a 19 Year Old” (Sketchbook Project, 2014)

“What will you carry” is a question that confronts all ages, of course. As my in-laws empty their house to move to a retirement community, the question is quite literal. Some of the things they will not be able to take are being divvied up among their children. And then, of those same items, we need to re-ask: “save, give away, throw away”? As I continue going room to room (now with a focus on the rat’s nest that is my studio), I am remembering an interesting novel on the topic, in which the protagonist had a hard and fast rule. Every January she surveyed her apartment and if she had not touched the thing during the previous year, she got rid of it (“My Year of Meats“, by Ruth Ozeki). That is more severe than suits me, but the question of maintenance is not:  “Do I want to have to keep handling this thing to keep it clean and in its proper spot?” The answer, surprisingly, is often NO.

Young people ask “What will I carry” in an abbreviated way, using the dorm checklist as reference, and if they are reasonably nice, they let their mothers buy them some linens. Now that we know that D. will be going to college in Colorado (big HAPPY news of last week!!), the question gets asked with the logistics of flying in mind.

There are the less literal ways to ponder this, too. When I ask, “What will you carry” of my children, I say it with the deepest hope that they will carry forward many memories of caring, humor, and nurturance from home.

If it is true, as Gretchen Rubin says in “The Happiness Project,” that “[a]ny single happy experience may be amplified or minimized, depending on how much attention you give it,” then I want to figure out how to do this better.

4 thoughts on “What will you carry?

  1. maggros

    I asked my husband last night where he thought your D had been accepted, and he guessed it right off the bat. On Wed I wore a pair of earrings that you gave me long ago, to work. Hadn’t worn them in a long time. One went missing, I noticed sometime before lunch. I looked around my cube and pretty quickly decided it was a gonner. Now, I work in a fair size office building in nyc remember. At 5pm or so, waiting for the elevator, I looked down and there it was on the floor. one in my ear, one on the floor in front of the elevator. Some things and some people we just carry forward in the oddest ways… n’est pas?

    1. deedeemallon

      Nice examples Mag. And had the earring stayed missing the lesson would have been the opposite. About how things sometimes leave us in spite of our intentions or wishes.

      Guessing the college choice? another confirmation of it being a good fit!

  2. grackleandsun

    As we just moved our four-person-and-a-dog family to a new town, this question was heavily on our mind. We all craved a release from the burden of possessions accumulated after almost 20 years. This experience made us decide what we would carry, and I’m thankful for the outcome–lighter in material possessions and in spirit. It is a way of life we plan on continuing from this point forward. Wonderful post!


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