Monday, April 18, 2011

The Value of Things

Over the weekend, Lithus made a throw-away line about how we should pare down our belongings because we are beginning to accumulate stuff. It was a throw-away and I know this for several reasons. First, he said it while clearing out the empty boxes that had gotten stacked along the closet. Second, we hardly have any stuff. We can't even invite three people over for dinner because we don't have enough table service for more than four ~ and only enough seating for three and only then if two of them are good friends. Mostly, I'm okay with this.

People who know me talk approvingly about my lack of materialism. Comment on how nice it is that I am willing to live simply in order to spend money on adventures and experiences. Note that anything I do have in my home and I am willing to accumulate is stuff I really, really love. And that last one is true. A long time ago, I decided I would only own things that I really, really loved, that increased happiness. The rest...the rest is only partly true.

I used to care about things. A great deal. Within a year, that was change was kind of forced on me. During my divorce, I wasn't allowed into the basement of the house I had shared with my ex-husband to go through the boxes he and I had stored there in happier times, knowing eventually we'd get around to unpacking them. During that same time, when I was trying desperately to take each and every breath without losing my mind, my childhood home was emptied and sold. While I would've been allowed to come down and go through it ~ welcomed, even ~ it wasn't...made easy...for me to do so. In some ways, I forced others to make decisions for me; in some ways, others forced decisions on me. I really can see both sides of it. The end result is the same.

My books. My college diploma. Pictures. Daddy's pencil sharpener. The whipped cream bowl. The demitasse cups. Two different dining room sets. The Victorian cookbook. My fountain pens. ... You get the idea. I have no idea what happened to so many things. I had to let them go. I own the things I want. They are in storage in Worcester and Washington. I haven't seen them in years, literally. But they are mine. No one can take them away from me. And if I don't surround myself with stuff, it's not because I don't value things; it's because I do. I value the things I have left, the things I own, and they aren't simply replaceable because our apartment is a little emptier than it might be.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


CrackerLilo said...

I believe that "three moves is as good as a fire," but there are a few items I don't ever want to be without. It upset me for you to read your list of stuff you had to let go. I've also had to learn how to pare down, because our little row house just doesn't have a lot of space. I've told L'Ailee that one reason I will always strive to make her happy is so we don't have to divide up our stuff!

So often, though, experiences are more satisfying than things, and it's good that you and Lithus are finding joy in them.