We are at that age now. I understand why in Hindu custom it’s usual for older people to withdraw from the world.
Stuff we lovingly collected to make our lives comfortable, to remind us of friends and family and to allow us to interact with the world have accumulated. For example, I bought this needle case along with a plate (lost) and egg cup (cracked) in Bulgaria when I was deciding to come home. It represented a need to settle.
Like my friends I have been doing a bit of biffing: mostly clothes, nic-nacs and books at the moment but three friends in the same broader age bracket (come on admit it, it’s true) have been having major throw outs as they shift residences.
It is amazing what we collect and how important we see these things as being. And how sad and unmeaning they are to people who do not know their history. Which, of course, is why good museums try to understand and share the stories of things. Remember as a child having to write stories about the life of a penny? No? I do.
It was sad to have a pile of Mum’s things after she died and to know that I was perhaps the only person left who knew where she got that signet ring, who gave her those pearls.
So as we biff, it’s a good time to reflect and what these items mean to us. To ask ourselves if we need that vase that so and so gave us before she died because although we don’t really like the vase much we treasure her memory. Can I remember her without having that vase? Of course, but it is comforting to see it. Do I still need that rug I had on my floor in Greece? Wellllll
But there are also things that show how indulged we are. Clothes. Cushions. Bags. Shoes.
Time to clear out. To feel somehow cleansed and ready to move to the next phase in our lives when perhaps there is more travel, more simple enjoyments and fewer things.
But perhaps not. I note that there are many second-hand shops and recycling places now. Perhaps this is a new phase too. There is indeed a lot of stuff in the world.