|Okay, so this isn't ephemera, but it has outlived its creators and serves a purpose they never intended.|
I work in a museum and love attending museums in every city I visit. They are full of things, sometimes beautiful things, sometimes ordinary things that were meant to go from one time use to waste basket, but these ephemera became treasured parts of museum collections. Death happened to great artists, theologians, statesmen, and great ordinary folk, but some inanimate object that entered their possession outlasted them and became a revered connection to the deceased. Those things shape the history that is told about them and the way future generations understand them.
I often stop to look around my life at my things -- the spools of thread inside a vase, the tiny rock that sits on my desk, the platters above my cabinets -- and I realize they might outlive me. It is humbling and a little infuriating to know these objects can have lives that span hundreds or thousands of years, but I get a mere sixty more if I am lucky. And when I am gone, should anyone care to know me, they will look at my things.
Look around. What do you have that defines you? If someone was going to piece together a story of your life based on the things in your home, what would you keep and take special care of? What would be the first thing you discard? What would you pass on? What is keeping you from doing those things today?