That's my little girl Isabella's Teddy. He's forty years old. Back when my wife was a little girl, her own mother brought Teddy home from Italy. He's so well made that he's lasted all this time.
Lots of nights we have talks about Teddy. Isabella wants to know about when her mom was little and how she played with Teddy, too.
As things age, they collect stories. Stories of our families that connect us to them.
In my own case, I have a pair of my grandfather's cufflinks and his watch. When I have to give a talk or go to a meeting that tests my confidence, I wear them. It makes me feel like something about him is there backing me up.
In other words, when things are made well, and they last, we can often get way more pleasure from them than we might from something new. We come to cherish our things. We come to cherish our lives.
Yet, these days, instead of making things to last, manufacturers make things to break. Everything from poorly made Teddy bears to watches you throw away when the battery runs out to cell phones and even fridges.
When you think about it, it's crazy.
Things are built to break or go out of date, so that we have to work really hard to buy the same things over and over again. Meanwhile, remaking all of this stuff plunders our planetary resources and makes for clouds of carbon dioxide which causes global warming.
What if we only had to buy our possessions once? Our telephones, once. Our computers, once. Our furniture, once. Our watches, once. Our teddy bears, once.
Maybe the objects we surround ourselves would end up being like old friends. Maybe, with having to manufacture so much less, we'd end up with is a more healthy planet along with a lot more fond memories.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.