Someone asked me the other day when did all of my attitudes change… And I realise it was with the bushfire.
A few years ago I was living in the outer suburban ring of Melbourne. There was a run of hot days and someone started some grassfires near my house.
My partner at the time was at work, so I grabbed some of our clothes, toiletries, any mementos, and our cat and jumped into the car and drove to his Mother’s house. And it was the weirdest feeling: I was leaving a house full of stuff and I really didn’t care.
The mementos I grabbed for me were not what I was expecting: some photos (sure), but an old copy of an HG Wells book of my Dads and a piece of wood that was the end of a Tigermoth plane propeller. And my Grandmother’s ring which she gave to me when she died. That was it.
In the weeks after that incident when we were lucky and our house didn’t burn down, I began to reevaluate my belongings: I gave away or sold over 18 boxes of books, I had a collection of 3000 cds which is now less than 100 and I’ve repeatedly cleaned out my clothing and gotten rid of 90% of my DVDs as well.
By the end of that year my partner at the time and I had broken up, I’d returned to study and had reevaluated many many things in my life. There’s only one thing I regret: he kept the cat. Everything else was the right choice and even that was too as the cat was happier there.
But since that moment, the sense of driving away without fear of what would happen to the house I have begun to think differently about what I buy and why I buy it. It has been a slow transition. Last year I didn’t buy any clothes or shoes besides a couple of band t shirts: that’s new or second hand actually. I bought a few books, but have enjoyed sharing them around to friends and family. And I bought some records which resulted in a couple of great afternoons at my friends house listening to them together. Really pretty restrained and has resulted in sharing experiences with friends and family.
My ex used to love going to the local shopping centre and walking around as an outing and we never went on any holidays together. I never really cared for the shopping centre outings, although I enjoyed looking at CDs and DVDs and books. Now I rarely go to shopping centres. That’s not to say that shopping in and of itself is bad, but just all the waste of consumable goods probably isn’t good. Everyone has different interests and it’s funny how much happier I am now that I am living more in line with my values and passions.