DEAR HARRIETTE: I celebrate my grandmother’s birthday every year in some special way, even though she died many years ago. My grandmother meant the world to me, and I never want to forget her.
I usually take the day off from work and spend my time remembering her. One year I went to see a floral display at my local museum because my grandmother kept a beautiful garden. Another year I took a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture to see an exhibit. My grandmother was a domestic worker, and I wanted to see how that part of our history might be included in the museum.
I have been dating a guy for a few months now. When I told him about my plans this year to honor my grandmother, he shrugged it off. He said he thought what I was doing was extreme. At first, he even thought I was joking.
I was offended. I do not necessarily want to break up with him – yet – but I do need him to be more respectful. I really want him to participate with me. What’s wrong with honoring my elder? How can I get him to align with me?
Honoring the Elders
HONORING THE ELDERS: Sit down and talk with your boyfriend about your grandmother and your family. Tell him what you remember about her, and give him examples of the impact that she had on you and your family.
You are not alone in your desire to pay homage to your grandmother. In West African and African American tradition, it is common to invoke the memory of loved ones who have passed and to set aside time to pay tribute to them. In this way, you keep their memory alive. This can help tremendously in keeping you and other family members humble as you recall your grandmother’s modest life and strength.
Invite your boyfriend to tell you stories about his family and his life. Listen carefully. Whatever he knows, help him build upon that. Perhaps he can ask more stories of his family to learn more details about the elders who are still alive and those who are gone. By helping him pay attention to his own family in this way, you will likely be softening his regard for your family celebration.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have found myself doing the very thing I swore I would not: namely, holding on to old clothes of all sizes and styles because my body has changed so much.
Every time I look at certain clothing items, I question whether I will one day wear them again, and I stuff them back into my closet. It’s crazy how many clothes I have. I can not even find anything because of the clutter. How can I get to the point of purging and actually letting go of some of this stuff?
DEAR THE PURGE: Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” can help you. She developed a system for honoring your belongings and letting them go. A key point is not to hold on to anything that you are no longer using.
Thank the item for its time of service in your life and then assign a next stop for it – charity, a loved one, the trash, etc. You deserve to have a tidy home and a functional closet. Sure, you may have had some wonderful clothing items throughout your life. Be grateful for the time that they were in active rotation, but get rid of them to make space for your life today. If you need help, contact a service that specializes in organization or even hoarding. You can get help if you need it.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c / o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.