An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

14 August 2015


I have recently moved out of the Makati apartment I have lived in for five and a half years. Before living there, I lived in a small Makati studio for seven years. That's a total of thirteen years spent living alone in Metro Manila.

When I moved out of my 58 square meter apartment in Makati, my stuff completely filled up the interior of a very large moving van -- a six-wheeler container van, actually -- with the help of four workers. It was a total move out, consisting of just one trip, so we had to find a way for everything to fit. It was a rather stressful exercise, as I was temporarily living in Bicol because of certain illnesses, and had to travel to Manila just to move and start my life over.

As I watched the van slowly fill up with stuff, I wondered how I had accumulated so much for the past thirteen years. A whole lot of them were books, and then shelves to hold the books. A lot of them were files that I still have to hold on to, so there's that. I do have a lot of bed linens because I love my custom-made bed with the orthopedic mattress topper, and that was the one area in which I tended to splurge. A lot of them were also clothes, which is strange, because I have never really been a consciously sartorial person, always just favoring jeans and round neck shirts if I could get away with it.

It all got me thinking, if I who don't buy much can end up with so much stuff over the span of thirteen years, what about those who consciously buy a lot of stuff? Why do we buy stuff, anyway? I bought stuff because I thought I needed them. Books were a necessity in my life, and thus so were shelves. Clothes were cycled as my weight roller-coastered. I didn't fancy many shoes. But what of those who bought stuff indiscriminately, such as those who buy stuff every time there is a sale, for instance? What of those who live in bigger homes where there is enough space to house a lot of stuff? What of those who live with other people who need stuff? I dare not think of our house in Naga, all 400-something square meters of it, housing its eight members and four maids, all of whom need stuff. A house in which stuff has accumulated for about forty years of my parents' married life.

Now I am sharing a house with several girls, and all I brought with me is one suitcase of clothes and my sister's old electric fan. Now I am already allergic to buying stuff. My mother wants new bed linens for me and my dad has suggested a new headboard, but I said no more additional stuff. I have used up my quota for the past thirteen years, and now I will use what we already have.

And maybe that's what the whole exercise is for -- for me to have had the experience of acquiring stuff, stuff that now have memories attached to them. Perhaps it was also for me to experience life in Manila for thirteen years with the convenience and comfort brought about by stuff. And in all this, it's for me to see that what I have is more than enough. I'm done buying.

[Image credits: 123]


Blogger Josh LaPorte said...

This is quite moving. I struggle with stuff. I am definitely not a minimalist but also don't want a lot of crap around to take care of. Things I love are fine; things I don't love I just don't want anymore.

We live in a gigantic house and moved here because we felt that we needed the space. We live in half of it and use the other half to store stuff that we don't use.

Back in 2012 I bought a small, but not tiny, one bedroom apartment nearby at the top of an Art Deco building. It is currently rented to a tenant, but I think (very) frequently of curating my possessions down to the most-loved items and moving there. Less expense, less space, less stuff, more time, more money to do the things I enjoy or just to save for future peace of mind. But it's difficult to let go. And that is why this piece resonates so strongly. Thank you.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous bikerkrx said...

It's good to start over with just a suitcase and a fan. A lot of baggage to leave behind to make living life lighter, brighter, airier.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

Joshua, I have toyed with the idea of living in a tiny cottage with just the bare essentials. Too much stuff is just so stressful. I know that now. Your small apartment sounds wonderful! I haven't let go of my stuff yet, actually. They are temporarily housed at the large apartment of my sister's boyfriend, and they will all be trucked to my parent's house this month or next.

Ricky, sinabi mo pa! Laking ginhawa.

9:15 AM  

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