paul graham writes about the things we own, the stuff we accumulate over time, the value we place on our belongings, the money we spend acquiring them, the time it takes out of our lives, and the burden we feel by being weighed down by them. growing up in a household with four older bothers - hectic, uncontrollable, dirty boys - an image of a sprawling array of toys, balls, and damaged walls immediately pops into mind for most. but actually our parents, minimalist modern architecture enthusiasts, despised clutter. we were discouraged from keeping things for long, and i have to say, i don’t miss anything i ever threw away. we had an active youth, spending a majority of our time outdoors wandering around our neighborhood or most notably, playing sports. there was little for us to do at home, no video games, board games, toys or junk to play with, so as a result, home became a place where we simply slept and spent time with the family.
even in college my brother only had a tree stump (yes, a tree stump) and a guitar in his room, while he crammed his matress and the few clothes he had in his closet. extreme, i know (how thoreau-chic!)… so his “home” was a place for him to sleep and study. today, i keep my life simple too - no clutter, no unnecessary belongings, no distractions, but a soothingly bare, white, tiny, sun-drenched apartment… and a wall of books! i feel free when i have less. i prefer that my daily activities define my life along with interaction with others which i feel ignites a kind of education that “things” and “stuff” cannot stimulate. no photo collage, snow-globe, indian dream catcher, stuffed animal, decorated lamp can reflect my life better than words i speak or the things i do. it’s not the belongings that i come home to that make me feel at home, but instead, its reflecting on the day’s thoughts, interactions and experiences that help define who i am.