“You don’t travel light, do you?”

More than one person has pointed that out to me. It’s true. When I stay overnight at a friend’s house, for example (as I often do when the winter weather is bad), I have a suitcase packed with at least three or four dresses — because I like to have choices in the morning — along with several other items, enough clothes for a week, essentially. Then there’s my toiletries/makeup bag, another bag with food items, my laptop, my purse . . . you get the picture.

Even if I am not planning to stay at my friend’s house, I still carry an overnight bag(s) — i.e. above stuff — just in case I have to, because I work 100 kilometres from home and one never knows . . .

My car has become something of a wardrobe, too: I usually have at least three pairs of shoes beneath the back seat — cause you never know when a heel might break on the pair you’re wearing. There’s usually a long sweater lying on the back seat, along with extra winter gloves and a scarf. And because my mail is delivered to a rural community mailbox a few kilometres from my home, my car also tends to get cluttered with circulars, which I toss into the back after separating them from the real mail — i.e. bills (never cheques).

My house is, surprisingly, not so cluttered, though it is becoming more so as a certain girlfriend does the gradual “U-Haul” thing. “I’m not a clutterbug,” she says. “I just like to have a lot of things around me.”

So many things all add up to one word: stuff.

Sigh . . . Sometimes I am amazed at how much stuff we humans need — or feel we need — to carry on our daily lives. And we literally could not survive long without some essential stuff. Such is the price of civilization, I guess. We long ago lost our ability to live as the animals do, free of all baggage — and clothes. We’ve enslaved ourselves to “stuff ” — paying for “stuff,” taking care of “stuff,” storing “stuff” . . .

O, to be as free as a bird . . . even freer. Indeed, transcendentalists look forward to liberation from the material world, when we flit about in our spiritual ‘bodies.’

Or not.

Such is the mystery of death, from this side of the equation, at least.

But one thing is certain: You can’t take it with you, as they say — even if your tomb is stocked up with all manner of earthly provisions and furnishings.

So if there is any victory at all in the dying experience — which is part of living in the material world, yes? — it is the freedom from stuff, and all the responsibilities related to stuff.

A wise poet once wrote “It is no more surprising to live twice than it is to live once.”

True, but I’m not sure I want to go through another lifetime of accumulating stuff.

Then again, there is a lot of neat stuff on Planet Earth . . . like my CD player, which is currently spinning Clannad’s Legend disc . . .

Sigh . . . such thoughts preoccupy me on a Saturday morn . . . far from the madding crowd . . .

Have a great weekend.


6 thoughts on “Stuff!

  1. We have far too much stuff. So much time and effort is spent acquiring it and keeping it. Stuff is the stuff that keeps the economy ever growing and all of us employed. But sometimes I wish that I could just walk away from it all, just turn my back and walk away. Sometimes all these possessions give me no pleasure, no solace, no succour. I have a love hate relationship with my stuff.


  2. In these days of our files being stored in “the cloud” perhaps we are getting less dependant on physical “stuff”?

    However, I still have some of my MP3 files on the CDs they were originally “ripped” from, plus having them and the more recently downloaded ones on my laptop, my iPod, my phone, and a USB memory stick that connects to my car’s music system.

    I like your choice of music. I think I have the entire Clannad back catalogue. I can recommend “the voice of Clannad” Máire Brennan’s solo albums, too. They are more overtly Christian than Clannad’s or her sister Enya’s albums, but I can cope with that for her wonderful voice.


  3. Age creeps on and we are finally starting to destuff the place.

    My music shall never shrink to a virtual file in the computer or in the cloud though because so much of it is still in higher fidelity on CDs and proper discs and new CDs still cost less than inferior downloads and you can still lend the disc to a friend! BTW nobody “owns” their downloads, they have just bought the right to play them but cannot pass them on …

    Parting with books is hard…


  4. A long time ago I went to live and work in the Soviet Union, I enjoyed it there and the one really good thing about it was there hardly any stuff to be had …. so I did without. I got used to it, it was really great training for the ‘downsized life’.



  5. Some random thoughts: We all have a love-hate relationship with our stuff. Do we own it, or does it own us? Someone (George Carlin?) had a routine about how we accumulate stuff, then we need a bigger house to hold the more stuff, then we over-fill that with stuff… Once had a friend who renovated her house and only let there be one closet just to avoid accumulating stuff (and this was a woman who had been a clothes horse to put you to shame).

    More specific to me: I used to think I lived very spartan/sparse/stuff-free, but as you know, can’t really claim that anymore. Yet I realize that much of my “stuff” is either useful, or memorabilia. If my place ever burned down, it is not the “stuff” I would miss, but the memorabilia. That having been said, if my place did ever burn down, I would miss it, but for how long? A few days or weeks or maybe months? How often do any of us look at, say, our photographs (hard copy or digital). At other times in my life, I have traveled far and long with only a small backpack or shoulder bag; I could easily do that again if needed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s