Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Renewal and reinvention: metscan's comment

"The pieces I now have satisfy me completely, and I hope I can hold `my horses´, and from now on only admire jewelry without an urge to buy something. I have noticed that this need to renew myself is going on with clothes, shoes, furniture, everything. Have you, Duchesse, experienced it ever?"

I'm quoting mestcan, eloquent commenter of the shifts in her life. She, you might recall, disposed of most of her jewelry, then (click link for her method) acquired one perfect pair of studs. Metscan seems in a period of renewal, but without excess.

Though maintenance is an ongoing task, I don't need or want to renew our furniture. Trying to find something Le Duc liked drove me to tears 25 years ago, when we were in our intensive nesting phase. (Shown, sofa he finally approved after five years of hunting.)

I notice a marked drop in my drive to acquire, punctuated by occasional intense bursts of desire, usually for accessories or art.

Media moguls like Moses Znaimer, head of ZoomerMedia ("zoomer" is the vital, unfogeyish boomer) are courting post-50s, typically ignored as a potential pool of consumers. Marketers say we have more time to shop and more disposable income than younger adults.

But I think that's wishful thinking. Most of my 50+ friends are not interested what C.S. Lewis described as "the American Dream: Work, Buy, Display, Repeat." The women I know are trying shed the stuff crowding their basements or closets.

And yet, I revere reinvention, woman embracing change, exiting outdated and unwanted strictures. One woman (divorced, children long grown) left a prestigious consulting job to work in an orphanage in Bosnia. Another decided, after 50, to turn her farm into a refuge for dogs rescued from war zones.

Maybe the change is more modest: joining a choir that accepts less than stellar voices, and lets you sing your heart out. Finding help with the care of an aging parent, so you can recover your patience and stamina. Orthodontics, this time for you. When in her late 60s, my friend Marcelle signed up for "Fly Fishing for Dames" and found inner peace wading Massachusetts' streams.


The ot
her awareness that weighs against acquiring more is the realization of how much is needed by so many. While I show some fabulous jewelry on this site, I think of much good the money spent on a bauble could do directed towards medical care, clean water or lending organizations that help women in developing countries start small businesses.

This is not to say I will never buy another pair of earrings or cashmere sweater; it's not a dichotomy. But how much is enough? For me it feels like less all the time.


How about you?

11 comments:

Belle de Ville said...

Finally, and happily, I am in the de-aquisition stage of my life and couldn't be happier now that my son has just purchased his first house. Now I can pass on family stuff that I've been holding onto for years.
Now it is all a matter of quality not quantity, in my jewelry as well as in my life.
And I think that KIVA is one of the few organizations where the funds needed actually reach the end user who needs them.

materfamilias said...

In some ways, I'm doing more acquisition now, finally being able to afford "stuff" that we couldn't while getting kids through school, etc. And I've always been attracted to the "voluntary simplicity" movement, since I first heard about it in my 20s, so except for books and shoes, we haven't been big consumers (okay, and CDs and clothes for me, and . . . )
What I'm more conscious of is something I posted about today in response to your question -- it's the movement to accept myself as I am now -- that is a reinvention for me, and I doubt I'll ever achieve it, but I'm trying (Wow! did I just set that move to acceptance up as another goal I can't achieve -- the opposite of self-acceptance! Yikes! where's the therapist?!
Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to think about this -- looking forward to reading the rest of the conversation.

Belle de Ville said...

Ooops, sorry about the typo.
I mean't to type de-acquisition.
I blame it on early morning pre-coffee blogging.
Does anyone know how I can get automatic spell check on blogger?

metscan said...

Thank you for your post today Duchesse. I´m blushing. And yes, so very true: Less is more, more important. My passion, interior decoration, has had many phases. Right now, it is all about functionalism, functionalism which pleases the eye. I´m not going into details, might even be boring to the reader. I don´t collect anything special, I only have the special essentials. I believe that a home too, has to be on a constant move, ready for changes.

Duchesse said...

materfamilias:
Reading your post, it seems that everyone begins a new chapter at her own pace, at various times. I'm all for enjoyment of any period of one's life, whether it is the results of the fruits of study, childbearing or gardening (metaphorically or literally). Sometimes it's time to make a change, sometimes not. And sometimes, as you observed, life hands them to us.

Belle: Lucky you that he wants your family stuff. I said no to so many things from my mother that I now wish I had- like a Steinway baby grand. Kicking myself.

Imogen Lamport said...

I've done a bit of clearing this year, and I've also worked on only acquiring what I really love, not just settling for 'it'll do' which I will want to get rid of more quickly, or not be completely happy with my choices.

I think that as I mature, I want less stuff, but more quality - I don't need new new new all the time like I may have wanted when I was 20.

Completely Alienne said...

I, too, am finding I am clearing stuff out. I can afford new stuff, and still buy when I see something that I really want - and I am gradually replacing things like cooker, freezer, fridge, microwave - but I am getting rid of stuff faster than I am acquiring.

Duchesse said...

Imogen: Remember when you HAD to have a new outfit for a date or party? Those were fun days, when one could get a little dress cheaply and feel glamorous.

Alienne: You remind me that I do need to replace appliances, and so enjoy beautifully designed household gear.

tiffany said...

I've never been a terribly big 'acquirer', but, like Imogen, I think I'm also getting more picky about what I do acquire. I will wait longer for something that is exactly what I want, rather than having to have something less perfect right now. And I am also conscious of others who have more needs than wants - I think partly from spending some of my childhood in the third world. I have always - since my first job -supported organisations like Kiva, but in the last couple of years I have been gradually increasing my contributions - I like the idea of the 'tithe'.

Anjela's Day said...

I never kept anything apart from a few sets of books left to me by my lovely mum.
-I lived most of my life out of a suitcase and accumulated nothing.When finally I had children and we, as a family nested a huge flood in 1992 destoyed everything= I guess the only items I really felt so sad about were their pictures- ruined carried out to sea. And videos of them as babies- and my rigby and peller best bras -the babies they were still just 4 and 6 so time to make more memories. We were luckily rescued by a boat and carried to safety.
I enjoyed reading this piece and at times envy people who have tons of boxed treasures- I just live on bare neccessities. But still so much fun to hear about you all and from my friends concerned about decluttering and simplifying their lives.
Must be hard to let stuff go?

metscan said...

To Angela´s Day: Answer: No, I think it is really very easy to give/put/even throw away things. Sometimes I wonder if giving away is even more pleasing. The less I see in my closet/cupboards/shelves, the happier I feel. A couple of weeks ago I managed to arrange the library, and now only have books I like ( had to save some books my husband wants to keep though ). I like to keep all books in one room and the magazines upstairs. I still have to deal with the photos, an awful lot of pictures after my mother, of people I don´t even know. This will be a hard task.