Last week, when Dan and I were sitting in Pete’s Kitchen consuming greasy breakfast foods and processed meats, I mentioned to him how I think I might be a defective female-type person. When he asked me to clarify, I told him about something that’s been on my mind for a while – something spurred from the interwebosphere. Here’s my dirty confession, internet: I’m just not into stuff. Like, at all. It’s as though the part of me that is supposed to want to coo over fashion or squee over cute stuff or swoon over some sort of well-designed dealy bopper just…doesn’t exist. Nearly always, when I go into a store or shop a bit online, all I can see is stuff. Stuff that costs money, and sure, it might be cute or fashionable or design-y, but it’s still just…stuff.
I see bloggers that I read (and friends) asked to contribute to design blogs or style blogs, and I read them sometimes. I’m especially intrigued by the gift guides on blogs like that. The idea of pouring through websites to find a bunch of items, put them together into some sort of cohesive whole, and make people want to buy them is about as appealing to me as hanging up my laundry. And, as Dan can tell you, that’s my least favorite chore. Even more alarming, most of the time I look at those sorts of gift guides and don’t see a single thing I might want – or, at least, not a single thing I’d consider buying for myself. The idea of spending money on stuff I don’t need, just because it’s a thing I like, is something that rarely crosses my mind. I’m even (and I know this is going to be shocking, because how could it not be) not a huge fan of Etsy. I mean, I love that there is a place where people can sell cool stuff they make directly to people who want to buy it. But I’ve only ever found a few things on there that I might actually want, so I just don’t find it especially useful for *me*.
For the last several years, my mom always asks me to put together a list of things I’d like for gift-giving occasions. I have a very, very difficult time with this task, because it’s so hard for me to think of things that I want. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m the only girl on the planet who doesn’t have a wish list stashed away someplace, itemized and categorized by gift giver, occasion, and how much each item is desired. When it’s time for me to come up with ideas for what I want, usually I resort to asking Dan for ideas, because there’s just never really anything that I *want* that much. In my day-to-day life, I am so much more likely to enjoy spending money on an experience than on an item, a thing, or a stuff. I save up for trips and would nearly always prefer tickets to an event or a well-planned outing over just about anything.
It’s not that I don’t like looking at stuff, because sometimes I do, and sometimes I even fantasize about how it might look in my living space or what outfit I might wear it with or how cute it would be on the counter in the kitchen that’s already containing about as much stuff as it can while sill remaining functional. Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune when, someday, we have our own place that we can transform into anything we like. But maybe I just lack the stuff-wanting thing that seems to be so common to just about every other female person I know. In the last year or so, I’ve had an urge to purge, to get rid of stuff that I don’t use or don’t need or don’t want or just don’t have the space for anymore. While we wait for a job opportunity or the heavens to open up or something in California, I daydream about downsizing the amount of crap we will have to move.
I used to love stuff. But all the moves I did in college (and if you count moving from one room to another in the same building, I moved 9 times before graduation) taught me that it’s just not worth it to haul so much STUFF around on the off chance that someday one might be able to use it. Granted, some of the things I’ve held on to over the years came in handy down the line – the recycled calendar origami crane mobiles I made for our wedding, for example, would not have existed had I not saved so many old calendars. And I can throw together a costume with the snap of my fingers. But so many of the “maybe someday” things take up so much space. As I get older, I find that clutter bothers me more and more, and I find myself wanting to de-clutter my living space which in turn helps me to de-clutter my brain.
Very soon here, I think I’m going to have to put on a different set of glasses in which to view all of my stuff. I’m going to look at everything with a critical eye – will keeping it enhance my life? How much enjoyment do I get out of each thing? Is my sole enjoyment just HAVING it, and if so, is that enough to outweigh NOT having it? Does it have some sort of sentimental value, or have I just been hanging onto it out of habit? I’d like to break out of the bad habit of just acquiring stuff, and figure out how to just keep the things that really enhance my life.
So how broken a girl am I, really? Am I missing out? Should I attempt to style-ify and stuff-ify my life, or am I just better off not caring all that much about what’s in Anthropologie or Crate and Barrel or the boutique down the street? WHAT AM I MISSING BY NOT BEING A VERY STYLISH GIRL?