Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Things We Carry

An FS friend of mine wrote a post a few months back about the attachment to things - the stuff that you set aside to be shipped to your new home in some foreign country at great expense to everyone involved.  She was stressing about how much of her stuff she wished she'd disposed of, or sent to storage, or would never unpack.  Her post was far more intelligent meditation on the ultimate irrelevance of stuff are than I could hope to write.

However, I'd like to defend the opposite position for a moment (because I enjoy being contrary).  While I don't consider myself to be materialistic, there are some things that I don't like to do without.  It's not stuff like a television, or the right clothes, or even my car (being carless is more of an inconvenience than an actual heartbreak).  It's the things that I have dragged around with me everywhere that keep me anchored and remind me of happy times and people I love.  The small marble Taj Mahal model a friend brought me from India in 2002.  A magic totem a surrogate aunt made for me in the 1990s.  A pebble I picked up out of a stream in the Catskills.  One earring, to remind me of the other earring I lost on my last night in the United States.  The sixty-plus photos that cover my fridge.  None of these have any monetary value, nor did they take up much space in my shipment of household goods.  I can feel bad about all of the clothing and linens and such that I sent here but may never unpack.  Clothing can and will be discarded eventually, and boxes will be lost inevitably in some move or another.  However, I won't feel guilty about the little things that I will drag all over the world with me.

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