I am not a hoarder, quite the opposite.
I get completely overwhelmed by stuff, which is why I get anxious around Christmas and birthdays. I wander around busy shopping centres and whilst you’re Instagramming your pumpkin spiced latte, I’m over in the corner thinking about the lifecycle of all this shit around us that we will never take with us. Yeah, I’m a hoot.
If something doesn’t have a purpose or sentimental value, I won’t keep it. If I haven’t worn an item of clothing for a year, I will give it away. If you don’t use it, and you can’t take it with you, why keep it for so long? That’s why I collect tattoos, I suppose – they are the only things that will be with me ’till dust.
Our house is very clean and minimalistic. The spare bedroom, however, which was supposed to be turned into just that – a spare bedroom, has in fact become a home for those few sentimental things that I really do want around forever. Prints, painting, crystals, stuff I’ve made, precious gifts. There’s a 2m x 2m space where I can hoard and that is OK. Any bigger, and I freak out.
One of the things I can’t bring myself to ever get rid of is flowers. They are the most beautiful gift to receive but days later, they end their lifespan at the bottom of your bin, sharing a graveyard with teabags and the crusts of your bread. No, no, that’s just not good enough.
I’ve been hanging and drying flowers for about 2 years and I love adding to the collection that dangles in my windowsill. Flowers are just way more interesting and beautiful when dead. They find something that they didn’t have when they were alive.
Anyway, as well as hanging dead shit throughout my house this week, yesterday I took an actual day off. Me and my friend treated ourselves to a spa day, something I haven’t done in years. It was exactly how I thought it would be – completely peaceful and invigoratingly reflective.
This particular spa was a phone-free zone. Lying there on my heated bed, I turned to her: “apart from being asleep, and my recent camping holiday, this is genuinely the first time in my life in years, where I have gone longer than a few hours without looking at my phone.”
Seven hours, two cups of jasmine tea, and an Indian head massage later, and I was still pondering how fucking depressing that statement was. Working in social media marketing means that I look solidly at a screen for around 9 hours a day, and then probably on-and-off for the rest of my waking ‘free time’, when I am blogging, checking personal emails, watching TV, whatever else. It felt nostalgic to be looking at something other than technology for an entire day.
Now, I’m not going to throw out my television and go and live in the wilderness (tempting) but this has been an ongoing theme in a lot of my writing, blogging, poetry and diary entries in the last few years. Real, tech-free life is calling me. Kind of why I’m finding these rambling blogs, and sporadic spa-like ‘time-outs’ so reflective. Why I’m hanging dead flowers and thinking about what that means for hours on end.
Together, over the course of those seven hours, my friend and I made some pretty good life reflections – we talked endlessly about where we are now, where we want to be in the future, the things we struggle with, the things we enjoy. You don’t need a therapist when you have friends who can listen to you for a whole day straight and actually listen to everything you have to say (that’s the important bit).
Having recently lost someone close in her family, my friend had the life is just far too short concept in the fore-front of her mind yesterday. It’s always in the front of mine, and right now it’s allowing us both to make some life-changing decisions. Decisions that start with ah, fuck it and could end with something pretty fucking special.
It’s worth a try, I think. One day, it’s all just going to dry up, and we’ll both just be dangling in the windowsill.