Why did I need a grandiose nest in the first place? I’m not a Queen worried about appearances. All the things I thought were necessities I could have lived without. That doesn’t take away from their beauty; but at this point if something isn’t functional or practical, what purpose does it really serve. I think maybe this is a sign of sometime, perhaps a brain tumor? This is so out of character for me, the gal that once screamed “It’s mine” as I spied a piece of blue and white china from across the room at a flea market now wants nothing, needs nothing, desires for nothing. What happened to me? Who is that gal staring back from the mirror that coveted things and went batshit crazy if I didn’t get it in my hot little hands?
Stuff does nothing to enhance or support my life, and maybe at this point my thoughts are mainly for good health and acquiring longevity. Unless I’m buying groceries, everything else is a waste of money. All the stuff in my house, except for the bed, appliances and toilet is just stuff, things, desires, unnecessary wants I thought I needed, thought I would die if I couldn’t have them, and became almost manic getting the deal done and hustling the object into the car or waiting for it to appear in the mail. Surely, if I get the latest item, my home would be complete and my life would finally be fulfilled. I was deceived by my own brain into thinking it all mattered but it was all a big, fat lie.
I’m not sure when this paradigm shift began to come about; it snuck up on me so gradually I didn’t realize it was here until it tapped me on the shoulder with its harsh reality. “Hey there”, the little voice inside my head mocked, “this stuff doesn’t make you a better person!”
The soup tureen in my dining room was the instigator of discontent. The bitterness I felt when I looked at it shocked me. What a useless piece of crap it turned out to be, and I shouldn’t be mean about it, I’m the one that insisted on having it and then never gave it a second thought. It’s been gathering dust for several decades. It’s a beautiful piece of china but about as necessary as breasts on a fence post. I found a few dead bugs in it over the years, so at least it was enjoyed by something. And while I'm on blue and white china how many cow creamers does one need? The five that have never been used at my house? Guess that would make the answer none!
Since the boat came on the scene I’ve changed. Ironically her name is Catalyst, and she was just that, the catalyst of my transformation. Yes, it’s true, she is yet another acquisition, an expensive piece of stuff to boot, but with her it’s different. She actually gives something back unlike the stuff sitting on the mantel collecting dust. The simple pleasure of being on the water is the only dream I need. I can’t describe the feeling it wraps me in but I am contented at long last. Finally an object, a thing, a possession that brings true bliss, the long lasting kind, not the temporary fleeting, Adrenalin rush high that burns out like a flash fire. I can stop running on the consumer hamster wheel, I’ve finally found a purchase that really brings happiness. The lifelong search for satisfaction is over and I can put away my wallet.
George Carlin had a great stand-up routine about stuff. I’d recommend listening to it sometime. It’s hilarious because it hits the truth in us all. Your house is only a place for your stuff, if you didn’t have so much stuff you wouldn’t need a house. It’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff…and on and on the laughter rolls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac
I used to think, how could I ever part with my stuff and better yet, how can I take it all with me? Downsizing as an elder to a single floor dwelling with half the space I’m used to, how could I ever do that? There was strong resistance to the idea and I usually fought it by hoping I’d die in my sleep, never having to part with all my little trinkets, novelties, ornaments, baubles, gimcrack, curios, tchotchkes, mementos and the wall to wall furnishings, the entire soup of meaningless items that fill ones house and leaves the soul empty.
Now the list is small that I’d consider taking with us in a move. My hubby and pups, a bed, dishes for four, fridge, stove, washing machine and dryer and clothing, one ½ ton truck worth of stuff to move into our virtual, bungalow style home built for ease of living instead of slaving away at maintenance and upkeep. I’m thinking a brick exterior, strong enough to withstand the big bad wolf and Canadian winters. I’m thinking one level, an eat-in kitchen, a bedroom with bathroom attached, a medium sized communal family room for crafts, TV, that would play double duty as a guest room with one of those Murphy beds and all open concept for better heating and cooling. Why I ever needed two spare rooms for company that rarely visit and a huge bathroom that only hears a handful of flushes a year, I’m not sure.
And even more questions persist. Why do I own a ton of jewelry that is never worn and clothes, even though I pared them down there is still more that have tags or no longer fit the middle aged me. Stuff with memories attached, my wedding dress and in that I mean just a regular off the rack dress, a handmade suit of Stewart Tartan wool that I fondle occasionally with pads that gave me the shoulders of a hulk. Why do I need to hang on to things? What does it say about me? I have drawers full of stuff that are never used, in bureaus that wouldn’t be needed, if not for the piles of crap in them. There are dishes in the cupboards that rarely fulfill their purpose.
For instance, back to that soup tureen, I have three of them that have never seen soup. One came with a hefty price tag of $300.00, the most wonderful Burleigh Blue Willow China with ladle and I remember lusting over it, needing it for the dinner party I never had. It arrived, I took it out of the box, caressed it for a few seconds, and never thought twice about it again. It sits on a shelf and I pay someone to dust it. Now I see it for what it really is, a waste of our hard earned money. It was a temporary feel good moment, a small drop in a bucket that had a big hole in the bottom.
I used to think my home was a reflection of myself. But that would make me hollow, a show piece on the outside that doesn’t get much use on the inside. Who was I trying to impress? I’m not a social butterfly and don’t entertain, only close friends get through the door and they don’t care what my house looks like. They’d come over if I lived in a two by four outhouse, the skinny ones at least. All the fluff certainly doesn’t make me a better person. If I lived in a cardboard box under a bridge and had dirt under my fingernails, I’d still be the same old me. Why did I need to be surrounded by all this pretentiousness?
It’s what we all do; buy stuff we don’t need, maybe even go into debt to acquire it. Back then that $300.00 tureen was a bloody jab to our bank account. I was immature and foolish and selfish; the trifecta of bad decision making. It doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe I finally get it.
If someone came to us and said I’ll give you X number of dollars for your house, take your clothing and the pups and leave I’d say, “Ciao Bella!” If I could blink and twitch my nose and it would all be gone and I’d be living a simple life with few possessions, only the most prized and sentimental would remain. I’d be a happy “Little” minimalist. Hubby would appreciate it; he’s been hinting we have too much clutter for years. I was always defensive when he said we had too much stuff and that was guilt thinking, deep down I knew he was right and that I was out of control. I apologized to him the other evening, shed a few tears and he forgave me, probably did a high five inside that my reign of wasteful spending is over. Maybe now we can put some money aside for retirement so he can stay home instead of working until his 90’s.
Once I had a dream and someone asked, “How would you feel if your house burned down and you lost everything?” I’ll never forget the answer. I said, “I’d be relieved,” and woke up in a sweat. I wonder what Fraud would say about that? Obviously my subconscious got all the brains.
I won’t lie and say I don’t appreciate all that I have because I do. I love my home and feel very proud and comfortable in it but, and there’s always the but to negate the previous statement…..I’m a slave to it all and I no longer want to be held hostage by stuff.