Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life at a Minimum--Sort Of

My neighbors are planning a rather sizeable neighborhood garage sale. I decided this was an excellent opportunity for my son to jettison his second and smaller bike, not to mention cull down what I was certain to be way too much stuff of my own. So this evening, since I had to clear a path for the imminent Almighty Window Installers, I set out to collect items worthy of a buck or two to pass along to the neighbors with my good wishes that they enjoy the proceeds however it suits them.

The interesting thing is, I didn't find all that much to boost out. I remain a little surprised by this. I was sure I had way more kitchenware and other extra stuff that I never used. But while I am sure I could go through all our clothes and come up with at least a small bag to get rid of every week, I found that the other articles of stuff are not as superfluous as I thought.

Maybe I didn't look in every single closet -- a project in and of itself which would be an unwise venture at this point just days before we're to undergo moderate construction. And I stayed away from the kids' toys, since they've been good about thinning that population. Nonetheless, I came up with only a small handful of items -- some valances that had never been out of the packages, a relish tray, and about half of my three million cookie cutters. I have only two small boxes of items recently stashed in one small area of our attic space, so I can't blame it on stuff I'm too lazy to pull down.

I'm getting better at living life junk-free. I'm not acquiring stuff the way I used to, nor do I feel compelled to do so. This is a big exciting deal. I don't live as minimalist a life as I probably should, but seeing that I don't have all that many loads of useless crap was somewhat comforting. It's nice to know I've come into alignment with all my yappin'.

Life matters. Time matters. Music matters. Most stuff just doesn't. At work we were recently engaged with a person who has so much stuff and so damn much money that it would be hard to describe here -- and for the sake of confidentiality it would be unwise. I can only say that at the end of the day, it wasn't about the contribution that person would make, but the stuff he'd get in return. It was really an awful smack upside the head. In the end, the individual lost the bid for a very fine position because of this obsession with grownup toys, a life of stuff. It's nice to have a few new things now and then, like a pair of shoes or the badly-needed windows we're about to get. But our society would do itself a favor by unhitching itself from this Wagon of Trivial Material Pursuits, this baseless game of constant acquisition.

What I do have loads of is memories. Way too many homemade cards from my kids. A trunkful of elementary school papers, gift books they made me, scads of other items. And photographs. Way too many photographs. The closets of my heart and soul are crammed with all kinds of memories and gifts. These are not garage-sale items. Thank goodness, because there's no way I'd give them up.

Because when the train makes that last stop, those memories are all we get to take with us.

This song by Mary Chapin Carpenter is one of my very favorite songs, and I think I posted it recently. But it's a nice tune and ut's about what's really important: in the end, there's the end, and at that point, we're pretty much all the same. You don't get points for having more stuff or being more cool or having more friends or getting laid more often, or reading the best books, or having the nicest tan or being the best or worst president ever. The real things, like raising the best veggies or saving humanity, or helping a child, or giving someone a chance, don't matter then either, but they do make this life better for everyone.

Here's hoping we can get rid of our stuff, and make more of a life.

My Heaven

Nothing shatters, nothing breaks
Nothing hurts and nothing aches
We got ourselves one helluva place
In My Heaven

Looking down at the world below
A bunch of whining, fighting schmo's
Up here we got none of those
In My Heaven

There's pools and lakes and hills and mountains
Music, art and lighted fountains
Who needs bucks here? No ones counting
In My Heaven

No one works we all just play
You can pick the weather everyday
If you change your mind, that's ok
In My Heaven

Grandma's Up Here, Grandma Too
In a condo with to-die-for views
There's presidents and movie stars
You just come as you are

No one's lost, and no one's missing
No more partings, just hugs and kissing
And all these stars are just for wishing
In My Heaven

There's little white lights everywhere
Your child, a dog, in dads old chair
And more memories than my heart can hold
When Eva's singing Fields of Gold

There's neighbors, theives and long lost lovers
Villains, poets, kings and mothers
Up here we forgive each other
In My Heaven

For every soul that's down there waiting,
Holding on, still hesitating
We say a prayer of levitating
In My Heaven

You can look back at your life and lot
But it can't matter what you're not
By the time you're here, we're all we've got
In My Heaven

6 Comments:

At June 13, 2007 3:10 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

I've definitely got a relationship with my stuff. I was born with lots of stuff and have carried tons of stuff everywhere. I also come from a line of packrats so that doesn't help, but I am fighting it. I fully intend to get rid of a large amount of stuff, but I am stubborn about selling it. I want to go eBay and don't have time to manage eBay and don't trust anyone else to manage my auctions -- so there I am again -- with the stuff... in boxes... marked "eBay" on the side. [sigh]

 
At June 13, 2007 8:30 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

I can't help you with the eBay thing. When it comes to eBay, I am lazy and afraid. My neighbors are into it. You might be able to find a friend to give your stuff an eBoost for a small commission.

It's always been hard for me to part with stuff, even, or especially, stuff that wasn't mine. I still have a few articles of clothing and scads of other things that belonged to my mother and her mother and her mother's mother. I have no use for most of it. I have, for example, an oddball collection of off-color, too-short scarves in a funny little quilted scarf box. WHY? Or my dad's coin collection, or the lock of my hair that my brother and I found in his wallet, or, my mother's braids?

That's the tuff part of stuff.

 
At June 14, 2007 12:43 PM, Anonymous WolfSage said...

Um, maybe you've left some of the 'stuff' that would make for great garage sale fodder at the 'old' place? As evidenced by the great book recycle this past weekend... :D

 
At June 14, 2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Well, I'm afraid if we couldn't boost it out at the last garage sale, ain't much hope. Maybe it's time for a drink of courage and a Great Basement Giveaway. Just don't put the kids up for grabs.

;-)

 
At June 14, 2007 10:45 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

stuff is stuff. that old bike is NOT grandma.

all i can say is "quick before it gets warm"

tycho that is drunk before it is freezer cold, well, it just burns. we are celebrating our butterfly.
may we live up to the expectations they have of us in their heads.

love,
shameless

 
At June 15, 2007 3:07 PM, Anonymous Q E said...

right on!

Enjoy life - live with less!

 

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