I am privileged ( and yes, white) so I have led a life filled with stuff and things and excess. While not the sort to spend outlandishly on purses and clothes and cars, I have amassed a library overfilled with books, an office overfilled with ephemera, a crafts room ( yes, so much fabric, paint, wool and thread that it needs it’s own room) stacked deep in fibers of various description. I have a shed stacked with oddments, a basement with walls lined in tupperware bins filled with a lifetime of accumulation and a carriage house with such objects as an oxen yoke, a walking spinning wheel and several old doors.
My issue is that I throw very little out. Not just my own stuff, but stuff that other people have foisted on to me. I had trouble saying no to a dying friend who wanted someone to house a pump organ, so now I have a pump organ in my winter room. My then husband’s parents wanted him to have a grandfather clock which his brother didn’t want, so it sits still in MY hallway. My mothers china dolls are in a special trunk, the Royal Doultons packed in another box and more china than an one person ought to have handed down from parents, aunts, great aunts. An ex girlfriends margarita glass collection, a High Priest’s books and tools, pictures of people whom I never met but are somehow related remain stacked in the basement.
This past year I have lost several friends. In each case, their Stuff has not been a cherished momento to those left behind. It is a burden, plain and simple.
I am not a person who desires “stuff”. I appreciate comfortable, washable clothing, a good bed and linen sheets, good quality hiking boots and a large mug for my tea. While I love hand thrown pottery dishes, I can’t appreciate fine china, crystal and silver ware. I don’t play the organ, I don’t play with dolls. I don’t look at pictures of people I don’t know.
I have a huge task ahead of me, paring my life down to what I want it to be. Living in the boonies means that holding a garage sale is nonsensical. Shipping on the objects would be worth more than the objects are worth. Some of the items will be eliminated with a small piece of my heart as they represent memories of my past.
No one wants these things. Young people these days know that these trappings are pointless and wasteful. I know that these trappings are pointless and wasteful. My generation followed the dictates of our parents, who followed the dictates of theirs. How wasteful we all were. Young people understand that our planet is at risk and that in many ways OUR generation and our parents generations are at fault. This is not to say that every boomer is a wasteful egocentric resource wasting fool but frankly, if we examine our habits we can’t escape the blame entirely.
Choosing simplicity is not a one week project or even a one year project. For me it starts with the stuff, both not buying anything and shedding all that is extraneous. It progresses to simplifying my lifestyle, eventually selling my house in favor of a much smaller apartment. I want to chose an area where I can shed the car and all that car ownership entails.Eventually, I want only that which I use on a weekly basis so that I can focus on creativity, experiences and my own connection to this planet.
I feel guilt that it has taken me 57 years to finally understand fully. As an Earth-centric Pagan and Witch, I’ve be blind to some profound truths.
I can only hope that this evokes thought in a younger person. When we lay dying, we have regrets. Mine and most of my generations will be “Stuff”.
We are better than this. I am better than this.