Friday, July 5, 2013

Thoughts on things


I'm not one to buy a lot of things or to own a lot, either. I'm actually afraid of things because the more you have, the harder it is to pick up and leave. You see, for much of my adult life, I've moved around the country with a duffle bag and two small pieces of carry on luggage. (I've flown to every destination, so that's all I was allotted to bring and that's all I chose to bring.) I've found, everything I REALLY need fits into those three bags—my clothes (although my wardrobe is cut down with each move), a few books, my laptop and a few key items that make every bedroom feel like home.

But then I met Ian, we bought a car and for the first time in my life I moved WITH someone. That was a year and a half ago when we came to Jasper, and let me tell you that was probably the roughest patch in our relationship. At the time, I couldn't understand why Ian refused to, like me, leave everything behind. I couldn't understand why he wanted all of his art, a random five pound bag of loose change, a box of shoelaces and every other totally random item that he'd picked up over his 20+ years of existence. But, he couldn't. He needed those things. So he packed them up and his dad was kind enough to cart them down to us.

A year and a half later, I'll admit I'm glad Ian insisted on bringing his art. It makes our house ours. It makes it homey and unique and interesting. I'd probably even say I'm glad he brought that ridiculous bag of change. We've had a couple of good adventures with it and a few solid games of quarters, too. And the shoelaces, well, you can never have too many lying around waiting for that perfect pair of shoes.

Now, although I've done my best to accept Ian's penchant for hoarding, sometimes I look at our house and at all of our things and my breath gets caught in my throat, as I think of just how much work lies ahead when we do decide to move on. (Have I ever mentioned it's hard for me to live in the here and now, so I'm always thinking ahead, whether it be a day, a week, a month or a year?) If it were up to me, I'd ditch all my things and go right back to that old duffle bag, backpack and messenger bag. But something tells me I'll never again be able to carry all of my belongings on my body—not just because Ian has too many things, but because now I do too. Recently I bought a kayak. I have mounds and mounds of craft supplies. I have two closets worth of clothes and another closet worth of scarves. I have camping gear and art. I have books galore and a sewing machine.

I write all of this—my trials and tribulations with things—because I'm scared of what those things mean for my future. I'm scared that they'll literally weigh me down and keep me from seeing the rest of this beautiful country of mine. I'm scared that my accumulation of things has begun too early. I'm only 26 and I'm not yet ready to nest. I still have a lot of flight left in my wings. There's so much more to see and do before I start a Tupperware collection and settle into a forever home. I don't want to move tomorrow. I don't even want to move next week or next month, but I do want the option to pack up and go when the time comes.

I don't know what the answer is, nor do I know if there is an answer. I guess this is just one of those fears that will live in the back of my mind until we actually pack our bags.

Do things freak you out, too?


  1. Well, we have the same thoughts and discussions these days. It's the first time for me to live away from my parents and home (before I just had lots of things at home, but when I traveled or lived abroad, I'd just leave all of it at home with my parents) -- when we were moving here last year it was incredibly hard to decide what to pack in two suitcases to take with us because it was finally a big move that didn't have any returning home date. Over the past year (and today is our 1 year anniversary in America!) we slowly accumulated lots of stuff.. and we know that we'll move sooner or later and we'll face the "what to take and what to leave" decision again. Overall, I guess it's a great topic, I think about it a lot and you can tell I can write about it for a very long time :-)

  2. Things freak me out, but also, getting rid of them does too. Which is weird, and makes decisions hard. I have SO MANY BOOKS, and I couldn't get rid of them if I tried, but I'm always trying to ditch all of my other stuff. Especially clothes.

  3. I have moved so many times, and every time I got rid of more and more stuff. Every single time was like this huge weight lifted, and now I just go through my stuff regularly and happily get rid of things all the time. It feels very liberating.

    I think what you'll find is that when you do need to move, you will be ready to let go of a lot that you might not feel like you're ready to let go of yet (or is really necessary to let go of at this point in your life) Even though it's kind of a drag and a pain in the butt it really doesn't take all that long to unload seemingly massive amounts of crap via craigslist and thrift stores. Then you'll be back to feeling comfortable with how much stuff you have. I've never really felt tied down by my stuff (by my pets, yes, but not by my stuff) because I realize it's all -just- stuff and can always be replaced if I want it again in the future.

    As a side note in relation to craft stashes--I feel like the crafting community is one that endorses hoarding a little too freely. My craft supplies are something I ALSO love to go through regularly and pare down. Throwing out yarn (or giving it away, if it's something someone would actually -want-) is practically heresy in the knitting community but I relish it. It is always such a relief to actually be able to get to the yarn I know I will use without having to rifle through tangled skeins and scraps that I don't even like anymore, let alone will ever want to knit with.

  4. Yep. Craft stuff especially. Buy I'm getting better at getting rid of things, and not buying more things in the first place as well!

  5. Ugh, I MISS YOU SO MUCH. I, too, have accumulated a lot of stuff while living in Alberta. I am getting rid of a lot of it this week and it is going to feel SO GOOD. I am going to remember not to accumulate while I am in Ontario. I know what it is like to be always thinking ahead (as in, I am already thinking about where I am going to go when I leave Ontario), but try to enjoy the here and now, sometimes, too! :)