01 May 2011

Simple abundance...

My recent move has inspired much introspection, contemplation, and perhaps even angst...

Among the topics, foremost after only the perennial what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, was, and is I suppose, the idea of simplification. This is a subject that always accompanies the hated moving process - where did I get all this stuff? Why do I have so much of it? Do I really need it all? The questioning accompanying this particular move was compounded by others in my world tackling simplification for various reasons - dear friends moving to Korea to teach, another friend's blog posts focusing on the simplification process, my sister cleaning out her clutter, books where the heroines end up traveling with no luggage and are fine... there were other less easily referenced moments, as well. All of these make me want to pare down the things that I own, reduce the volume of possessions cluttering up my life (or stored in my sister's apartment).

Questions of simplification are difficult for me - I have a nester personality. I miss my pretty nick-nacks. Objects are comforting to me. Clutter is cosy. I am predisposed to collect - books, art, cooking supplies. Having to move, and leave so much of my stuff - those books, dust-catchers, kitchen equipment - in storage for now, has created a cognitive dissonance between my desire for my missing objects, my attachment to the objects that surround me, and the appeal of a simplified life.

So, how do I find that balance point?

Another complicating factor is that move coincided with my purchase (finally) of an eReader, and my subsequent discovery that I love it - I love the experience of reading on it, I love the fact that I can have literally hundreds of books with me at any given time, I love the space it saves. And yet... I also love my paper books. How do I pick and choose in which format I want to keep a given title? Cookbooks are easy - they are still better in paper, though if I do get an iPad, who knows if that will change - but for now, I'm keeping the paper. Poetry I am also keeping the paper - the form matters in poetry, and the formatting of ebooks is not yet at a place where the form is well and consistently preserved, so they stay, too. But I have hundreds and hundreds of novels, mostly genre fiction, well-loved and well-read, many of which I now also have in ebook form. And I enjoy reading them that way. How do I choose which to keep, which to pare away? I feel almost as if I have to choose which friends I get to keep and which ones I have to say goodbye to. Due to the issue of storage distance, it is a decision that I don't yet have to make, but it is looming, and occupying my thoughts to the point of minor obsession.

Why can't simple also be easy?


  1. glad to see another friend also caught in the same simplification questions! and thanks for the blog link!

    where did you move, tessa? are you still doing the phd? so many questions! (i should send you a real facebook message or give you a ring!)

    hope you're well!

    -beth p.

  2. I am in Princess Anne, MD - not in a PhD program - not really sure what I am doing with my life in general, but taking it one day at a time...