Black Friday is nigh, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Stores, brick and mortar and online both, will have sales that seem too good to be true. A 96″ Television for $99! Thingamajigs, buy one get one free!. The latest and greatest gizmo that will be sold out for the season if you don’t get it TODAY! People get up at the crack of dawn to get a space in line, or in some cases get up at the crack of dawn days in advance.
Black Friday. The day after we’ve shared our home and our table with our closest friends and family, eaten the traditional sleep inducing meal, and expressed our gratitude for the things we have. And now we need more. Or do we?
What do we actually need? This is a question that we have faced over the past weeks as we’ve downsized to prepare for our upcoming departure. The space and weight limit of a backpack are not subject to negotiation. If we take one thing it means there isn’t room for something else. If we don’t take it with us, do we sell it, donate it, discard it, or store it for the future?
Even before the downsizing we lived a fairly low consumption lifestyle. We didn’t own a car or a television, for example. Why would we need a special tool for slicing an avocado, when any sharp knife will do? Is a specialized pair of shoes required for every possible combination of weather, terrain, and occasion? How many tools are required if at most you hang up a picture frame once a year?
At some level of accumulation of kitchen gadgets, clothing and accessories, and tools, is it enough? Is the spread of storage lockers and stores that specialize in selling things for the sole purpose of storing other things a sign that most of us already own too much? Do the things you own now own you?
Looking through our possessions, we had to make some decisions. A few small things of sentimental value we will store, such as the photo album of baby pictures that my grandmother made. Some was obviously just taking up space, physically and mentally, and would be sold or donated. A few things required breaking a bit of emotional attachment, such as Winnie’s cook books and my two guitars.
In the end, we decided to get rid of it all. It’s just stuff. After all, our ability to be the master of our relationship with things is one of the reasons we are able to go on this journey
And I, for one, will be sleeping in on Black Friday