Sunday, June 05, 2016


Oak Bay Tea Party
Gillian Cornwall, June 4, 2016

How many of us require a stuffed pig wearing a T-shirt that reads, I love bacon?

Stuff. We all have some of it. Some of us have a great deal of it, some of us less of it. 

I am not fond of stuff for the most part, though I have some stuff of which I am quite fond. My stuff even contains stuffed animals - the two I've had since childhood - Lamby (is a lamb - perhaps I wasn't a very imaginative child) and Teddy (my bear - enough said). 

So, why do I get to talk about stuff when, clearly, I have it and hold onto it? The fact is, I have stuff that I:
  1. use,
  2. keep as a reminder of a time or activity,
  3. am trying to pawn of on someone else because I don't want it anymore and
  4. that which I have to take somewhere for someone else to use.
I love getting rid of stuff. I have a rule that if I haven't looked at it, used it, worn it, shared it, talked about it or engaged with it in any way in a year, it goes. 

I just don't want the responsibility. I suppose you could say I have commitment issues. Perhaps I just like to be able to pack up and go quickly and easily. For the first time in my life, at 54, I have actively sought out furniture that I like and want in my home - stuff that I will keep for as long as I have a home. Perhaps, I now feel the need for a little more comfort and a little less speed. I'm okay with that. 

I have lived in Victoria for just under 22 years. I have moved approximately a dozen times - maybe a little more. I don't feel like counting. What I am trying to say is that my time here has been a bit nomadic. I stayed in one place for five or six years, but other than that, one or two at the most. Moving is a great way to keep stuff to a minimum. Less to move and always purging the unused and unwanted. 

In my life, experiences have far outweighed my desire for belongings. I have only ever owned two cars ...and one scooter. I have never owned my own home. It's Victoria - who actually owns their home when the average house price is over half a million dollars?  I don't make a ton of money but I have had enough for a roof over my head, basics and occasional treats since I have lived here. 

Rather than buying things, I have had adventures and helped others where I could. The things I have spent money on or gone into debt for have been trips to Hawaii, continental America and the UK. I know that is a luxury for which many people on Earth could never even hope. I am aware of my privilege in this regard. 

I like original art. Financial folks say this should be the last thing you invest in for your financial portfolio. I fail. I have bought art and I have been given art. Lucky me! I would rather wait and buy an original painting, or at least a quality print, over work that is mass produced. 

I guess I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to stuff. I do not care for that which I deem substandard. I have high standards and expectations for myself, my belongings, my friends, colleagues - to a fault. Sometimes this works against me. I mean, how dare I, really? What right have I to set the bar so high and why do I insist on this for myself? I guess that's just my "stuff" and I am trying to work it out. I am a work in progress. 

I guess the reason I am writing this today is, after going to the fair yesterday, I walked away with some great memories, some FREE stuff (which is always great stuff until you get sick of it and either give it away or use it up or throw it away ....but it was FREE so it was kind of awesome and mostly useful. One of my favourite parts is taking photos of all of the old school rides and signage and lights to share online. Also, it was the best people watching ever:

That's me on the left - with a couple of new friends...
Oak Bay Tea Party 
Photo by: T. Fitch, c. June 4, 2016

Maybe, like everything, stuff is all about balance: enough of it to feel comfortable and not so much that it is a burden and a time thief through its maintenance.  

Dare I be so bold as to end with the time tested adage, You can't take it with you.

Live, love, laugh, be present, share, invite and talk to folks. Try something new. Give up some old thing that doesn't work for you anymore. 

I may need to go swimming today. Maybe I will jump in the ocean - burr. I hate swimsuits but maybe I will go in with yoga shorts and top! There is also an air show.... So many choices and all free!

Have a great day doing something you love - something that will give you a happy memory. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. June 5, 2016

Mount Baker from Willows Beach, Oak Bay
Doing. Being. Living.
Gillian Cornwall, c. June 4, 2016

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