I very ambitiously thought I’d be able to post the usual Monday essay and Friday round-up this week, but I was incorrect. Moving has kicked my ass, but I’m in a new (well, 100-year-old!) house and there are herbs and tulips growing in the yard and I’m surrounded by boxes on all sides and I have no idea where my forks are but I’m full of hope.
This is our fourth move in the past three years, and half of those places were just price-gouged basements, so finally getting to live in a house outside the city where there’s grass and trees and it’s actually dark and quiet at night is a revelation.
The dogs have just been running from room to room in sheer joy at having more space to wrestle; I saw a bluejay in the backyard today; we got an ancient rocking chair for the sunroom at the local thrift store; I rocked in it while watching my partner cut our little yard with a pushmower.
We are entering our Grandpa Era!! I’m going to get so many birdhouses!!! Bird hotels, even!!!
This move got me thinking about objects — how weird it is that we have to own so many of them, how stressful it is that we must manage all these objects on our own, and how much of that gets called disorder. One of the most common threads I see throughout personal writing by neurodivergent people has to do with managing objects — issues with mess, organization, or just straight up losing things.
I’m not so sure this is totally an issue with our brains as much as it’s an issue with the consumerist, individualist lives we lead. What would it look like if we lived in communities where we shared our objects? How much easier would it be to manage these things together? Why do we need to personally own so many damn things?
For a few years my shoddy solution to this problem was living out of a backpack and finding rooms in shared houses that were already furnished. Once I felt how freeing it was to be able to carry everything I owned, I became extremely averse to acquiring things.
It scared me, because it felt like a weight or a tether, and the more things I had to keep track of, the more anxious I felt. But living out of a backpack and constantly moving has its own unique stressors, and I couldn’t do it long-term. So now I own things, and it takes many boxes and a truck to move them, and I hope not to move them again for a very long time.
There is something good about moving, shifting, changing — but there are some things you can only do while staying still, like growing flowers, and spreading out roots.
Perhaps I will expand on these thoughts soon. I think there’s something here, but I need to read more about it. Let me know what you think? I’ll be back to the regular schedule next week!
Hi! Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading these thoughts. I also used to live out of a backpack and was averse to actually owning more things than I could put in there so I know how strange it feels to acquire ‘possessions.’ Now I have more things and more space I really enjoy seeing how things find their places/ move/ get lost/ reappear, very much like a little ecosystem.
Hi! I appreciate these thoughts so much. I went from living in a dorm and barely owning anything to living with (and then marrying) someone who owned a whole life's worth of stuff (they're 10 years older than me). We're both neurodivergent and sometimes the sheet amount of stuff surrounding us/me feels so overwhelming. Where did it even come from?? And yet somehow so much of it feels necessary? I dream of living extremely minimally within a collective space where what can be shared between many folks is and what can't I have only what I most need. I think this is a Neurodivergent thing but also something I hear across many folks my age (late 20s- late 30s). I'd love to hear more of your thoughts in the future!