Too much stuff

I didn’t post on Monday morning because I had a very intense weekend and the post I started on Sunday evening was evolving into a treatise on American consumerism, culture, capitalism, and religion and I didn’t have the energy to stem the flow and come up with something that looked like a comprehensible blog post, despite the fact that I don’t restrict myself to short blog posts.

I have been trying really hard recently to make my current life look like my ideal life. We want to get out of debt and travel, so I’ve been trying to buy less and even get rid of stuff I don’t need.

It’s an American past time, getting stuff and then getting rid of it a little while later. I read somewhere, recently, that we only own anything for a little while, and it kind of blew my mind how simple and true that was. After meditating on this a while, I was able to give my sister some pretty nice clothes that didn’t fit me anymore (we also eat too much in this country), but that I hesitated to give away because they were so fancy. Then I loaded up a giant black bag of clothes for the thrift store and a box full of excess kitchen utensils that seem to breed like rabbits in our dark cupboards. When I remember “This is only mine for a little while”, I think twice before purchasing something, but I don’t hesitate to get rid of it.

I told you all that so I could tell you about this: we spent the weekend moving things out of J’s grandfather’s house. He’s alone now, and he’s moving into a nursing home, and basically, he’s not going to need a big house full of stuff anymore. We were allowed to go through and pick out whatever we wanted, and we were encouraged to take whatever we liked because he preferred to see his things go to his family than to be sold off to strangers at an auction.

I was really grateful for the beautiful and useful things we got, though I was very ambivalent about tampering with the evidence of a life well lived and also ambivalent about moving his grandfather’s excess of stuff into our own house. I think mostly we chose well and chose items that will be souvenirs of great sentimental value in the years to come. Our vision of our life together includes having a home base, and I would do well to try and navigate the gray area between having so much useless junk that I feel claustrophobic and packing everything I own into two suitcases every couple of years.

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