Whilst it does not do to become too introspective, from time to time I have been conducting an assessment of such changes as I may be undergoing as I plunge down through the floors in the elevator [de-elevator? Reverse thrust?] of increasing maturity.
Something I have noticed is the tendency towards minimalism, which is interesting because it appears that many people become more inclined towards clutter as they age. This is true of several friends. They have accumulated ‘stuff’. It is understandable, this acquiring of objects without shedding others. It might perhaps provide a psychological barrier between solid, dependable life and the unknown that is getting snuffed out-especially as the snuffing comes ever closer.
‘You can’t take it with you!’ and ‘You don’t want to be the richest person in the graveyard!’ These are often quoted as we age and feel guilty about spending or acquiring. Often, the objects we have surrounded ourselves with, that we feel the most valuable are the very artefacts that will be unceremoniously trashed once we have slipped off the mortal coil. My mother became anxious as her denouement approached, cataloguing various items of furniture even as she lay in her hospital bed, exhorting us to have this table valued or that china figurine taken to a dealer. “We’ll get a skip” interjected my brother, in a bid to inject some levity into the conversation. But in fact, his statement proved almost prophetic, since the ultimate valuation of their house contents barely covered the cost of clearing it. ‘The bottom has fallen out of the antiques market’, we were told, and I believe the ‘bottom’ may still be absent today.
Whilst nobody likes the idea of contemplating their demise, there is a certain, pleasing purity about leaving the planet with nothing, just as you came. This makes me wonder if that is the very reason why I prefer an uncluttered space. It may be subconscious preparation. Oh not that I’m expecting or planning to expire any time soon [I still have time to be a best-selling novelist!], but the natural progression of ageing is that we ‘downsize’, with the inevitable need to have fewer belongings in the smaller area.
As regular readers know, we, [that is myself and the significant other known as Husband] spend much of our time in the tiny, cramped space that is our camper van, using a capsule kitchen and living out of luggage. When we return it is to the vast area that is our house. ‘What a long way it is to the toilet!’ I say, and always experience some difficulty in adjusting to sleep in a bedroom that feels enclosed and stuffy.
As Christmas approaches we deck the halls, filling the house with glittery, sparkly objects, greenery, candles, cards, tinsel. As soon as the revelries have subsided I cannot wait to clear it all out. In fact, so wonderful is the feeling of purging at trashing it all it is almost worth the initial effort of decorating to experience the soothing, peaceful, restorative sensation that is minimalism.