I recently visited my old college town, an event which always makes me wonder what insanity would prompt me to drive back to hazy, traffic-filled Los Angeles. Why on earth wouldn’t I want to simply stay in a town where there are trees every two feet, they have honest-to-god bicycle traffic lights and campus is sprinkled with these things.
Then I realize the nearest Trader Joe’s is 20 miles away and I start to remember.
Still, almost all of my college roommates still reside either in Davis or in the very nearby area. One was kind (read:gullible) enough to offer her place to stay when I was up visiting. As was the case when we were house-mates, her house is packed with STUFF. It’s not necessarily cluttered, it doesn’t look bad, but I can see on the mantle the same knickknacks she had when we lived together. The downstairs bathroom has a half-finished puzzle on it with enough stuff piled on top that it doesn’t seem likely to be finished any time soon.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how much stuff I had owned throughout my lifetime, and what it might’ve all looked like had I not been continuously moving locations and apartments my whole life. It’s a lifestyle that necessitates the ceaseless minimizing of possessions; to keep streamlining your belongings to the bare essentials. Teddy bears get a lifetime exemption from this rule.
My roommates may have kept changing residences after graduation, but it was usually an upward mobility in the size of their living arrangements, whereas mine stayed more or less the same. Also, there’s a difference in what you choose to keep out for general viewing. Yes, I WILL hold onto that pair of ceramic dragons bought at a Japanese bazaar when I was 9, but they will be kept lovingly bubble-wrapped in a shoebox instead of being displayed on a shelf.
It could also just be a matter of personal taste. I’m the person who’s obsessed with organizing tools. I practically orgasm when stepping into the cool breeze of The Container Store. Naturally, I don’t necessarily put all of those tools into use, but the intention is there. That counts, right? Still, I have a lot of those moments where you wonder whatever happened to a shirt you used to own, or a stuffed animal that someone gave you for a birthday. Realizing they’ve been sacrificed to the Salvation Army gods comes with a minor feeling of sadness, even though it’s for the best. Do I really need to hold onto the Pound Purry I bargained for at a Hong Kong flea market when I was 8? Well…yes. And I have. It’s in my closet. But I did get rid of that San Diego Zoo t-shirt from high school!
It confers a larger sense of importance to the stuff I *do* choose to keep, I guess. But you definitely lose that feeling of nostalgia I got very strongly upon staying with my friend in Davis. It just added to the comfort of the entire place, and indeed to the overall relaxing feel of the whole weekend. Made it all the more awesome. :)