why is it old bean . . .
that people who are minimalists . . . such as myself
are often thought of as having no sentimental feelings about things or people
or events in our lives?
simply because we don’t collect any ‘ keepsakes ‘ of those memories and have
them all out in the open in every room on tables and walls.
people have often said to me . . . ” how can you BE like that? “
” you’re just not a sentimental person. “
as if i might be missing an appendage or something!
as if i don’t care deeply about the people and events that happen in my life.
and then in the next breath they would usually invariably add . . .
” I COULD NEVER BE LIKE THAT MYSELF. I’M VERY SENTIMENTAL “
it used to make me wonder if there was something innately WRONG with me!
LOLOL ! it really DID old bean. especially when i was younger.
to tell you the truth . . .
back then . . . those kinds of comments used to hurt my feelings a little bit.
just as most people who have something ‘different’ about them learn . . .
i also soon learned not to let people know how i felt about all that.
you know . . .
how i never bought trinkets or mementoes when i visited somewhere.
and how i didn’t keep every little thing someone gave me over my lifetime.
i learned that to most people it’s practically SACRILEGE to pass on a gift like
it apparently shows a real lack of feeling and disrespect to the giver of the gift.
and THAT is never my intention nor my heart’s feeling about the gift at all!
it has NOTHING to do with a lack of gratitude or any supposed lack of feeling.
it is simply part of my approach to the simple life i lead.
a lovely life with very few physical things.
my ‘things’ are my memories.
of dear people i love. of places. of events.
both present and in the past.
i do not need physical things to take their place or to remind me of them.
hence the non guilt when i pass on something gifted that i have had the pleasure
of keeping for awhile.
and now will allow someone else that same pleasure! that is how i look at it.
i think of it more as sharing.
i once gave an entire box of christmas decorations to a family who had lost
everything that summer in a tornado.
in that box were some things given to me by friends in various years.
it gave me a delight to think those decorations would bring happiness to a family
who had only devastating memories of a storm that took away all they had.
i felt no guilt at all in passing those gifts on to be enjoyed anew by that family.
i mean absolutely NO DISRESPECT in passing things on.
nor does it mean any lack of gratitude!
and it is NEVER just thrown away. it is ALWAYS re~gifted.
it is just simply shared then with someone else who will also enjoy it.
i see myself as a caretaker. not an owner.
and to travel light is the only way i’ve ever travelled.
for instance . . .
i brought no keepsakes back from my trip to london all those years ago.
though i do admit to taking pictures with the marine’s camera on our very
last day there.
those pictures are now in my bookcase in a little photo album.
so i guess i DID bring something back after all!
i cannot tell a lie. LOLOL!
rather i got them after we got back. back when you still had pictures developed.
but i can tell you now this fact old bean.
even without looking at those pictures . . .
whenever i think about that trip . . . OH MY!
i need nothing physical as a reminder! it’s ALL indelible in my mind and senses.
i still can feel the fresh cool air on my face when i leaned out of our townhouse
window upstairs and looked upon the rain misted street scene below.
beloved english rain!
and i can hear the lovely sounds of cutlery and glasses tinkling as
the people in the little streetside café on st. james street sat at the sidewalk tables
and talked and laughed into the night.
i can still vividly see the flower boxes and the hanging planters from the old
fashioned street lamps . . .
the lush green of the many parks and the benches where the marine and i sat
and ate our lunches.
and the pubs. oh the wonderful cozy pubs! and the friendliness of the people.
i can feel the energy and the excitement of walking amid the crowds of people
rushing everywhere! the sight of the sleek spotlessly clean shiny black london
OH! so many wonderful memories! the night at the queen’s theatre seeing
phantom of the opera.
the train ride and the infamous white cliffs of dover. the ferry to calais.
the sweet sights and sounds of victoria station. an electricity in the very air!
all those memories! they are a pure joy to me still.
and i do not need any THINGS to remind me of any part of it.
it’s as fresh today as if it had all just happened to me yesterday.
but how do you explain that to people who equate the importance of
THINGS BOUGHT! that are apparently necessary to keeping those same
memories intact throughout the years? is that why they buy them?
i truly don’t know. maybe it only SEEMS to be the reason. and that’s not it at all!
but i DO know that my way is just not the normal way. i well know that.
most people load themselves down with ‘ reminders ‘ of every occasion.
every trip they have ever taken. every special moment in their lives.
and they just can’t understand why you wouldn’t do that too!
it doesn’t seem to be enough to them if you say . . .
” i keep a treasure chest of memories in my mind and in my heart. “
but it is true old bean. i really do!
i can reach in that inner treasure chest and bring out any person or any moment
in time that means the world to me. i can SEE THEM. and hear them.
and i can re~live the occasion!
i can relive being there and being with them as easily as i could if i had a
thousand little knick knacks or mementoes or pictures sitting around on the top
of every surface to remind me!
it’s hard for them to believe that could be so. but it just is what it is.
and it’s true.
minimalists like me . . . who treasure ultimate simplicity in all things . . .
are oddly content with bare beauty and few embellishments.
it truly is an acquired taste i’m sure.
although more and more people seem to be discovering
the sheer freedom and delight!
of living with LESS these days . . .
judging by many of the comments a lot of you make whenever i do a post on
my beloved minimalism!
many of you love it too! and you share your own thoughts on it!
and that always makes me so happy!
but for the mainstream of people . . .
our way would probably be an acquired taste.
just as one has to learn to like an odd flavor combination of some foods.
and most will never even want to acquire it at all!
in my case . . . it has just always been the way i am.
it seems to be in my genes. i never had to WORK at liking it or being this way.
i have loved spareness and clean uncluttered spaces for as long as i can
even as a child.
and especially as a teenager. and BOY! you don’t think that made a difference!
that made me very strange and out-of-step with the norm indeed! LOL!
i didn’t know why i was different then. i just knew that i was.
then when i read thoreau’s ‘ walden pond ‘ when i was sixteen . . .
that cinched it! i was hooked for sure! and i didn’t feel ALONE in it anymore.
i had a kindred spirit. even if he was from the 1800’s!
then i began reading about others who valued simplicity.
and the elegance of living with LESS.
and i didn’t feel out of step anymore.
i just felt like me.
and that’s the very best way to feel old bean!
i love order. and sunlight. and fresh air. and just enough touches of something
to make a room beautiful.
i love lamplight. and a sense of coziness.
but i like tables and any surface free of clutter . . .
so one can easily set down a cup or a glass and maybe a book.
something purely functional can provide incredible beauty in a room.
especially if all else is wonderfully simple and clear.
so . . .
next time you see someone’s home that isn’t filled to the brim with family
pictures on every surface and wall and mementoes filling every corner . . .
or all kinds of physical reminders sitting everywhere
of every trip and event and past occasion . . .
just please remember!
those odd people are every bit as ‘ sentimental ‘
about loved ones and places and trips and memories . . .
AS YOU ARE!
they simply listen to the beat of a different drummer!
and THANK GOODNESS there is wonderful room in this old world
for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!!!
to indulge in our sentimental reasons
just as we personally choose!
both collectors and non collectors alike!
til soon old bean.
1st picture courtesy of countryliving.com
2nd picture courtesy of better homes and gardens