I am sitting here squirming with a feeling of uncomfortable embarrassment as I type this.
I am ‘downsizing’ which is the modern euphemism for clearing out rubbish and the things I no longer need or use.
What has caused the discomfort is the sheer volume of stuff I have accumulated over the last 47 years. It is nothing short of obscene.
In the days when I watched TV I recall seeing one of these make-over shows where overweight people are shown all the food and drink they consume in one week. This food mountain is loaded on to one table, which often groans under the weight of the excess. Have you seen such a program?
The subject of the show would exhibit a variety of reactions – some would laugh, some would look shamefaced and some really appeared as if they might vomit at the thought.
My feelings are similar right now. I haven’t found the humour in the situation yet but I am shame faced and I do feel nauseous!
Why do we collect material possessions with such avaricious determination? What do they provide? Are our lives now so empty and meaningless that we are driven to fill the hole with material possessions which can never bring us true joy? Yes, they may offer pride of ownership, they may make a statement about who we would like to be, but they can never do any more than that.
The only belongings I have which I feel have any justification are my books and to part with those is going to be hard. My books are friends and companions from whom I have learned so much. As with all friendships, I have disagreed with some and wholeheartedly backed others. Reading for me has always been a discussion with the writer and opportunity to gain access to the mind of another. So, I can at least find it within myself to forgive the books!
When I acknowledge how little some have I am overwhelmed with sadness at the growing chasm that exists between the haves and the have nots. It is embarrassing and obscene.
How do I assuage the guilt I feel? The only conclusion I can come to is to donate to charity shops in the hope that the revenue they gain from selling items I no longer need or am ashamed to own, can be put to good use in an area where material belongings are at a premium.
Moving ahead I want to to travel light. My valued possessions? My health, my family and friends, my connection to what I can only describe as the force that binds us all (I haven’t yet determined what exactly the latter might be, for me at least)