Each summer the “organizer” book club that I belong to reads a fiction book that has something to do with the challenges people have with their stuff. This year we are reading The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett.
It’s a sweet little read about a couple who goes to the opera one night and while away, their entire apartment is emptied of all its contents. The woman character shows some insight into her thought process about all of her belongs and how they are holding her back from experiencing life.
The author writes, “Mrs. Ransome had begun to see that to be so abruptly parted from all her worldly goods might bring with it benefits she would have hesitated to call spiritual but which might, more briskly, be put under the heading of “improving the character.” To have the carpet almost literally pulled from under her should, she felt, induce salutary thoughts about the way she had lived her life. War would once have rescued her, of course, some turn of events that gave her no choice, and while what had happened was not a catastrophe on that scale she knew it was up to her to make of it what she could. She would go to museums, she thought, art galleries, learn about the history of London; there were classes in all sorts nowadays – classes that she could perfectly well have attended before they were deprived of everything they had in the world, except that it was everything they had in the world, she felt, that had been holding her back. Now She could start.”
I do believe that people today, spend some much time acquiring “things” that the acquiring becomes the experience. Have you gone on a vacation and after returning home talk more about the shopping you did than the places you visited or the people you met?
More on “The Clothes They Stood Up In” next time.