Tuesday, June 19, 2012

collections/ restlessness

"Change is the only thing worth living for. Never sit your life out at a desk. Ulcers and heart condition follow." ~ Bruce Chatwin

Recently I've been feeling restless and wrestling with an inner conflict - the desire for both stability on one hand and change, adventure and excitement on the other. I want to cultivate a simple life but I also frequently get caught up with the desire for things and places.

I think we are all collectors in one way or another and perhaps the tension I'm describing lies in whether one chooses to focus on collecting things or collecting experiences.

I've gone through various periods of consciously collecting things. I've had a thing for bottles and jars for as long as I can remember. Back in my uni days I collected different editions of Keats' poetry, weird handbags and glass rings.  Lately, though the objects of my desire have been more homely in nature; retro cups, spoons, tableware and tea caddies with the odd plant and bowl thrown in for good measure.

I think it is important to surround yourself with beautiful things but I also battle with a desire for minimalism and a sense of freedom from possession. I probably need to re-read Chatwin's Anatomy of Restlessness, a wonderful book on this subject, which I wholeheartedly recommend if you haven't encountered it.

I think one solution to this often frustrating impasse betwixt stability and change might be to seek out fresh vistas where-ever you happen to be. Instead of collecting more things, collect some unique moments. Eat in a different room of the house. Take another path to work. Try new foods or new restaurants. Rearrange the living room. Wear something unexpected. Or, if you can, plan a trip - something we are in the midst of doing! Or watch Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. That show makes me desperately want to visit and eat in just about every city on the planet, a collection of delicious moments if ever there was one.


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