I sat on my bed last night, looking around in bemusement at the random assortment of belongings in my new room. Last weekend I returned to my parents’ house to collect a car-load of stuff (their ongoing patience with the constant ebb and flow of my worldly belongings into and out of their loft has exceeded what can be considered ‘reasonable’ in terms of parental duty – they are officially legends). Now, having unpacked, I am left wondering at some of the choices I made. For example, I appear to have brought my hair straighteners with me (I ‘do’ my hair approximately once a year) yet have failed to bring any supplementary underwear, such that I am still making do with traveller rations of smalls. Not ideal. Similarly, I am now reunited with my entire collection of OS maps (another geeky obsession – what can I say? I’m a geographer…) yet still don’t have a radio alarm-clock or a mirror. Hmmm.
Yet it is quite illuminating – these seemingly random choices, when I really think about them, elucidate some of my current priorities and show me the things that I really feel bereft without (which are, strangely, few and far between) and, conversely, those which no longer hold as much meaning as they perhaps once did. At mum and dad’s house, as I gazed around at the sum total of my life in boxes, very few of the items tugged at me with sentimental attachment. And the few things that I fell upon fondly were often surprising. These included, in no particular order:
- My books – I hadn’t realised how attached to these I was.
- My map collection (errr….hello?!)
- My baking equipment and recipe books
- My bike, surfboard, camping gear, climbing gear, snowboarding kit, rucksack etc (these can be grouped together under ‘rufty-tufty outdoorsy stuff’)
- Yoga paraphernalia (books, mats, clothes etc)
- Stationery (I have amassed a large collection of cards for all occasions over the years, plus wrapping paper, recycled puffy envelopes etc, which I greeted as old friends – didn’t see that one coming).
- All my old notepads containing my scrawlings from over the years, ranging from angsty adolescent diarising, things to do lists, some awful poetry, numerous started novels, travel journals, and everything in between.
Things which, surprisingly, didn’t have such a pull on me included:
- My wardrobe in all of its glory (since travelling, I think I’ve realised that I have far too many clothes and that it’s probably time to let go of at least some of them, starting with the early nineties throwbacks that I know are still lurking in there somewhere, and of which I am pretty sure we will not be embracing a revival any time soon – combats and skechers, anyone?)
- Non-sentimental ornaments – seriously, why?
- Filing – life is too short.
I’m still not sure why I brought the hair straighteners though – perhaps it was a sub-conscious reminder that looking good is also important to me and that the ‘traveller effect’ (i.e. a more relaxed approach to appearance combined with back-to-reality cash-flow issues) has possibly led to my barnet being neglected of late. Thank you, sub-conscious – I will book a hair appointment tomorrow and concede that this is ‘because I’m worth it’.