Posts Tagged ‘“stuff”’

One of the things we’re told about maintaining (or losing) weight to keep our physical health in good shape is that it’s not just about what we eat, but also about portion size.

Exhibit A: It’s summer, and who doesn’t like ice cream in the summer? But how much do we really need to keep us happy … or healthy? Here are three bowls in my home. I know there are plenty of people who would fill up that yellow bowl in a heartbeat, and even the blue one is a decent portion, but I’ve found that that little green and white, handmade pottery bowl with a shape that can never really be filled suits me just fine.

Exhibit B: Just enough to feel I’ve really enjoyed some ice cream, but not so much that I am berating myself afterwards that I probably put on another pound.

While I was sitting with my journal and coffee this morning, I looked around my living room and wondered, “How much do I really need?”  If I had to pack up tomorrow and live in half the space I currently have, what would I keep? What would I – could I – let go? It was a funny thought, because every now and then we become aware of how much “stuff” we have.

Some of the stuff, we undoubtedly need – something to sleep on, some kitchen essentials, something to keep our clothes in, some books (of course), and in my case, the tools of my trade – my computer, peripherals, art supplies, etc. But where does one draw the line?

Sometimes I think I could easily get rid of half of what I own tomorrow if it were easy enough to do so, and honestly, I’d not think twice about it afterwards. As we move on in life, we accumulate stuff. But as we grow, we also outgrow much of it. Yet here it stays. Like people who have these huge two car garages, then fill them to the brim with stuff, and park their cars in the driveway. It’s incredibly common, but I cannot understand it. I don’t want to have that much stuff. And yet, in my own way, I suppose I do. Still, I’m grateful that I have no attic, no garage, and a thimble of storage space in the basement – it keeps me in check. And then there are the people who identify with their stuff.  Who they are, in their eyes, seems to depend on the luxury car, the McMansion, the trips, the designer clothing …

But we are never really our stuff. And getting rid of what we once thought was indispensable and who we were? it creates space for who we are now. Who we might be. Maybe it’s a thought as I grow older; maybe a thought as I want to keep finding out who I am. But portion control is starting to sound more and more appealing, because the less we need, the more space we have to spread our wings.

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For some reason over the last 6 months or so, I have felt the urge to start divesting myself of things I no longer want/need/use. I have made some tiny forays into this effort, but nothing drastic. Yet. But last weekend I got a wake-up call – the people across the street packing up and moving.

MovingBox2I could not believe how much stuff was coming out of one small Cape Cod house. Aside from the desired items they were loading up into a very large trailer, making repeated trips to their new place, there was a ton of stuff bagged and more piled in front of their house for garbage. Mind you, when the garbage truck came through Monday morning, it stopped still in front of this wide mound; one of the fellas made a phone call; and they emptied the two actual garbage cans – exactly what we’re allowed – and moved on leaving everything else there.

A few days later, the owner of the property came by with a clean-up crew.They piled all that into a good-sized trailer and then filled yet another one with what was left behind inside the house! I didn’t have the time to watch all this for long – only occasional observations – but I am still floored by how much was jammed inside such a small dwelling. It left me looking around my house, thinking what can I let go?

I am always amazed at the “stuff” we humans amass. I see so many people with one and two car garages which they fill to the brim and leave their cars outside. I would give an eye-tooth for a garage to put my car in. I’ve never had a garage and can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t jump at the chance of not having to clean their car off in bad weather. Why do we accumulate so much that we don’t need, leave alone even look at?

I do consider myself fortunate that I have no attic and only a tiny basement. It keeps me honest. Everything I own has to fit inside my living space. Even so – the prospect of having to pack up and move again someday? It has me eyeing and evaluating everything I pass – do I really need/want it? Watching that train wreck across the street gave me pause. A cautionary tale, indeed.

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