Friday, September 14, 2012

Happier at Home: on Possessions

Along with what seems the rest of the world I just started reading Gretchen Rubin's newest book, 'Happier at Home'. I haven't read 'The Happiness Project' (her first Happiness book) but I'm already feeling like picking up this second one was a great choice. I'm a big fan of my home, of being at home, having others in my home, and generally take pride in the whole big box; weeds and rabbits and unfinished projects and all.

The first chapter talks about Possessions. I haven't finished this section yet but I got to thinking about the stuff I have and what it means to me. There are certainly items that are more important than others but there were very few that I would have trouble parting with. There's some discussion on the philosophy of stuff is that less is more and experiences are more important than stuff but Gretchen mentions that some of this stuff brings us happiness and that's ok. She also talks about how stuff can enhance experiences. Here's the noteworthy stuff I came up with.

1. My car. I've had my car since December 2003, almost 9 years. From first year University to today and ongoing. I drove my car back to Manitoba, Florida, Calgary and then Kelowna, and out to Halifax. My car has seen all but 390 kilometres of the 6000 kilometres of the Trans-Canada highway with me as the driver. My car is pretty close to being my oldest possession and it has seen break-ups, make-outs, make-ups, and many, many highway dance parties. I know that I love it because it represents so much of my life thus far and I oddly wish I had taken more pictures of me with it in all the wonderful places it took me, as if it were my silent little friend along for the ride. At this point I have the intention of driving it into the ground; largely for financial reasons (it still works fine) but maybe a little selfishly so no one else can ever drive it.  A friend once said to me when I picked her up for a movie that it would be odd for me to show up in anything but my car and that it will be weird when that someday happens.

Writing about my car was a bit weird because cars aren't typically possessions we have forever and I know I will part with it someday. I guess there are different stories and expirations for all of our different stuffs.

2. My pink Kitchenaid mixer. Another object that's been with me for many years. At first I only used it to make whipped cream and now I use it weekly to make just about everything. My mom bought it for me as a Christmas gift in second or third year and it's been along for the ride as I've gone from Pilsbury prepared cookie dough to commercial cupcake baker. I hope I have it forever - I'll have to look into where I can get it repaired as I'm sure I'll have to do a few tune-ups along the way.

From my cupcake photo-shoot, this puppy is photogenic! The pink icing helps

I tried to make it to three items, seems to be a much rounder number but I just don't have anything else worth writing about. I have pictures but they are all digital and I suppose there's my dog but I don't really consider him a possession. I have a few heirlooms but they are largely things that were passed on to me after someone passed on themselves. In these cases I feel more attached to the memories than the things but in the case of my car and mixer I'm attached to the thing that brings the memories. Interesting dynamic.

What things to do you have in your life that hold a lot of importance to you? Do you have anything that's irreplaceable? What stuff will you have a hard time parting with?

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