Sunday, 10 March 2013

When all you got to keep is strong/Move along

One suitcase. I left with one suitcase, my laptop bag and a handbag. I didn't care about the things I had left, it was all about flying towards a future that had to be different from years lived in between.

My sister is moving out tomorrow and thus packing up her room. She has only one suitcase, true, but bags and bags and bags and bags and more bags full of things. Her room still looks full, even with half of her stuff gone already.

It is quizzical how we hang on to things. Tiny keepsakes, objects of remembrance, but also plastic bags and Tupperware that no longer has a fitting lid and carpets that are stained and CDs that are scratched and clothes that can no longer be worn in public. We hang on to bad sofas and creaky beds and tilted tables and uncomfortable chairs and squeaky wheelbarrows. We keep all of this broken stuff even though it neither gives something nor takes anything from our lives. All these objects do is remind us of the tiny little hoarding complex enshrined in capitalist society.

We are constantly encouraged to buy newer, better things to replace the old things that still work. So we are caught in this spiral where we don't want to throw away the old because we don't want to have wasted our money, but then we proceed to buy the new since spending money is fun, even if you have to pay with your Credit Card and the waves of debt are steadily inching up beyond where you can stand.

I, too, like my things. I like my books. I like my earrings. I very much like the new jeans that actually fit. I like the old photo albums. I like my mom's Rosenthal porcelain. I really like my red Adidas. I like my stuff.

But if it all goes away, if I can take nothing from the burning house but myself, well, I'll move along, because they are just things. Some can be replaced, some can be recovered from the Cloud, some might be lost forever.

It won't be all that tragic though. Losing everything does not equate to losing everyone.
I'll still have friendship.
I'll still have love.
I'll have hope.
And, somehow, happiness. Because being happy is not measured in how many objects we possess but in an appreciation for what remains when all else is lost.

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