Our life is frittered way by detail. Simplify, simplify. -Henry David Thoreau
I am really tired of all my stuff. I have been tired of it for a while now. And compared to most people, I don’t even have that much. My mom thinks that I at least need to get some pots and pans and bathroom towels. She is probably right. But the way I see it it’s just more stuff; and stuff is getting in my way.
Of course, this does not include my bikes. Or my camping stuff. Or about 1/3 of my clothes and books. But the rest can go. Except of course my car because I need something to carry my bikes and my camping stuff around. (And while we are on the topic of cars, I would actually like a new one with 4-wheel drive and lots of clearance. Because my little car has a tendency to get stuck on boulders–if you don’t already know this story, don’t ask. I am little sensitive about it.)
But that’s the end of it. The rest of it is getting in the way. Right now, I am in the process of temporarily relocating to Seattle which means two apartments, two different cities with my stuff. What a disaster; what a headache. And the problem with things are that they steal your time: shopping, cleaning, going to work so that you can afford them and then insure them. That is time that could be spent biking! Stuff is a trap. I can’t get up tomorrow and move to Tahiti (or wherever). I’ve got too much stuff!
One problem is that I am not very good at estimating how much I really need. When we floated the Middle Fork last summer, I am pretty sure I had the biggest bag in the whole group. But I am going to start practicing. I am going to Seattle for a couple of days, and I only filled one half of one carry-on. I’m so proud.
Not only is stuff a problem for me, it is a problem for Americans in general. The amount of consumer-goods that we buy is staggering. There are more shopping malls than there are high schools. And consider the amount of energy required to produce our consumer goods: the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s population, accounts for 24 percent of world energy consumption. Our addiction to things is simply not sustainable.
So for the good of our environment and my own peace of mind, I am going to make an honest effort at attrying to simplifying my life by cutting back on the amount of things I need. I encourage all of you to give it a go as well. Just make sure that your things go toward a good cause: by the time you are 75, you will have produced 52 tons of garbage. That is a lot of junk.