Joy in stuff?
Last fall I read a book by Marie Kondo titled “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up”. This was a popular book and I have since read and seen many articles and blogs that use her advice. Minimalism and simple living are popular themes for writers. We all seem to know that a simpler lifestyle is healthy and the idea pulls at us, and yet we are not ready to make too deep of a plunge into that lifestyle.
Marie Kondo’s idea of putting every item we own into our hands, decide if the item gives us joy, and only keeping those joyful ones has led to a popular joke floating around the internet. The joke goes something like this: “You know the KonMari Method of cleaning house where you toss the items that don’t give you joy? Well so far I have tossed all my kale and all my bills.”
I am a little bothered by the idea that possessions can give me joy. I reserve joy for special moments, nature and for people and relationships. But, if our items don’t enhance our life, why do they exist? I hang art on my wall because it pleases me. I keep books that I have read and loved. The house is full of plants because they bring nature indoors. Do my possessions bring me joy?
I remember buying a good bicycle when we moved to West Virginia. It was a pleasure to ride, was the perfect shade of green, wasn’t too heavy and it took me out on many trails and roads. That bike gives me joy. I remember thinking then, this is a possession I really value, and I remember feeling slightly guilty with that thought. My camera brings me joy. I enjoy a day in nature, my camera around my neck, searching for the perfect photos. Of course, I take so many photos that the camera helps to clutter my life even more.
I have three paintings that bring me joy. The first one, a snowy mountain scene of a barn was painted by a talented friend. It reminds me of our college years, living in those mountains. The second is a print of a girl playing a flute on sandstone rocks out west. The third is a small painting. The scene is a rustic grey cabin settled on the edge of the woods and in front of a pond, The Pond. My grandmother was the artist and the pond and cabin belong to our family. We have camped, fished, picnicked and celebrated many birthdays at that pond. The location is special; the painting is priceless.
I have to be comfortable with the fact that some possessions bring joy.