This school year I am reading Happier at Home a chapter per month and blogging about each chapter when I am finished. For the month of September I read Chapter One on Possessions. I will admit I was a little afraid of this first chapter I pictured Gretchen Rubin telling me to simplify my life by getting rid of everything I didn’t need. It seems like every book on the shelf lately is telling us less is more. Spoiler alert: she did not say that!
This quote from the book for me sums up this first chapter best: “One person is happy living in a sparsely furnished yurt, while another person is happy adding to a collection of fine porcelain. There’s no one right way; I must decide what’s right for me”
So I spent the month reading this chapter and looking at my possessions and deciding what makes me happier to see everyday, what needs to be fixed, organised, or even donated and thrown out. I have a long way to go. I suspect Mrs Rubin’s children were both school aged when she wrote this book so she had a little more time to dabble in her possessions then I do chasing an almost 2yr old around.
In the book she suggests that you “cultivate a shrine” which entices people to particular activities and moods and is a sign of dedication. I heard her talk about this in her podcast “happier” and had already made a “shrine” of all the books I have read on my bedroom window sill. I absolutely love books and reading although it is challenge to find the time to read I am really proud that I have made this a priority in my life. I love seeing my books lined up when walking up the stairs to my room and I also love seeing them from the outside which basically announces to everyone that pulls up my driveway a book lover lives here. I am not overly attached to each of the books individually however, I enjoy loaning them out for others to enjoy also.
Another “shrine” in my home is my mantle. I decorate my mantle almost every holiday and season. My mantle brings me pleasure when I see it decorated but I also really enjoy the decorating part too. Instead of overly decorating the entire house I usually stick to my dining room which works because it is in the middle of our house and gets used often not to mention I walk through it a million times per day. I love making it different maybe using my same decor but placing it differently each year.
As a child I collected Polly Pockets. I kept them in great shape and still have them today. When I gave them to Miss Charlie at the same age I was when I started my collection I was so excited. She thought they were very neat and likes to play with them but they definitely do not hold the significance in her life that they did in mine. I heard myself reminding her over and over to be gentle with them and then finally I had to let it go. They are a great importance to me but they are also just toys and my purpose for keeping them was to pass down to my daughter one day. Some of the pockets are now neatly placed on a spice shelf in her room while the others are kept in a container in her closet. Displaying some of them and seeing them each day really makes me happy.
The last possession I thought about while reading this chapter was this ring. This ring is a gold child’s ring with the letter “T” carved on to it. This ring was worn by my birth father when he was a little boy. As a child I wore this ring even until it would only fit on my pinky finger. It now sits with my other jewellery and every once in a while I take it out and look at it. My daughter had it on her finger for a little while but it was not practical for her and I knew I would be heartbroken if she lost it. Last year during bible study we read “Unplugged” by Lisa Terkeurst. This is significant because she also had her estranged father’s childhood ring that she kept. Before reading this, I had never heard of any other boy child owning such a ring. It was the one possession in the world that connected her to her biological father which is the same for me. Their house was broken into and one of items stolen was that ring. Can you imagine? I thought about this a lot. Would I be okay if this ring vanished? I decided it would be very sad but I would be alright. Possession do have a great importance in my life as you have read above but I know three people that trump all the stuff in the world: Jordan, Miss Charlie, and Mr Simon.
I ended this chapter knowing yes, possessions make me happy but that I am not about to become unglued without them. It might take me a minute if something became lost or broken but the truth is what truly makes me happy is smiles on my three peeps faces. Taking a closer look at my stuff and organising some of it was fun though take a minute to think about what is important in your life and of course join me in reading this book! One chapter/month and then we meet back here to discuss it. Until next time!