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New Start

I’ll admit that I am a maximalist in many things and have accumulated a lot throughout my adult life–sweaters, books (which I blame on the half-price book sale at the Lantern, my favorite used bookstore), shoes… the list goes on. During the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about that, and how I want life to be more streamlined in the future. This is especially true with a toddler!

I certainly have my hardworking staples, but as I cleaned out my closet and rearranged my dresser, I realized how many extraneous belongings I have as well. Whether these are clothes from a different time in my life (like when I actually went into an office every day…) or books I no longer read, there’s a lot there that doesn’t necessarily belong to my life any longer. That’s fine, but I’ve always had a difficult time letting go of things. I’ve always placed a lot of sentimental value on belongings, and that’s certainly appropriate for, say, a bracelet that I bought my late mother. But for a sweater that I picked up with my first paycheck that 1) no longer fits and 2) is no longer my style, it’s not really practical to hold on to any longer, or assign so much meaning to something like that.

I studied anthropology in high school and college (where it was my major), and the way that cultures ascribe significance to belongings has always fascinated me. One of the most thought-provoking assignments I had in college was for a Globalization class where we had to keep track of everything we wore for two weeks, where we acquired it, where it was made, and how much it cost. At the end of two weeks, we had to tally up the cost and write a paper on the conclusions. It hammered home to me the reliance upon “fast fashion” and made me more determined to invest in fewer and better pieces.

Of course, life gets in the way of even the best intentions, so that’s why I’m here, but I’m now more determined to limit consumption and edit out those things I no longer need! (This was not intended to be a monologue about consumption but that’s where this ended up.)

I’m hoping that writing this blog will help keep myself accountable to this goal, because for me it’s easy to get lazy and slip back into old habits. However, I’ve found that writing things down helps me to stay focused and on track… so here goes nothing!

2 thoughts on “New Start

  1. This is fantastic! I started reading it out loud to the assembled mass of stragglers on our annual vacation. Every word resonates. Before I left I was studying my bookshelves and looking at Tom Wolfe. Great read? Sure. Time and and place? Check. Do I need it forever? Nope. Keep sharing and we can follow along! Maybe I’ll even give a few books away.

    1. Aw, thank you! Yes, I definitely need to give a few books away (somehow I have two or three copies of A Year in Provence, which I adore but really only one copy is necessary. And other things as well! But I’m hopeful that at the end of this I’ll just have a tightly edited collection of belongings that reflects who I am now. We’ll see… 🙂

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