If you’re a better person than me, by now you’ve probably already done a house decluttering Marie Kondo-style and taken a box of things to the thrift store. I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table as I write this. There’s barely any room for my coffee mug amongst the other coffee mugs and audio equipment and old New York Times issues and the pile of Amazon boxes I have yet to recycle.
If that mental image stresses you out, then it’s clear that our relationship to things has an emotional and psychological impact on us. It’s messy.
This fact has never been more apparent to me than this time we are living in. I’m always at home surrounded by my things, and I’m hyper-aware of every new thing that comes through the door. It seems that almost every day, my partner is getting a package in the mail. I think about the overwhelmed US Postal Service and the workers tasked with moving all our stuff. I think about how I used to go to Target just to look at things I want but don’t need, and now that’s a risk not worth taking.
Not all things are bad though. The best thing I’ve purchased in quarantine is a pair of roller skates. Everyone who saw the roller skating girl on TikTok had the same idea. There’s been such a surge in demand that production can’t keep up. Back in May, I got lucky enough to find a pair in my size and I pulled the trigger. It hurt my bank account to make that $300 investment but it was worth it. Skating through summer was so helpful for my mental health. I love whizzing past the houses in my neighborhood and exploring new parts of the city. It’s gratifying to set goals for myself and learn new spins and tricks and transitions. Every day that I’m not on my skates almost feels like a waste.
In her new book "Having and Being Had," Eula Biss writes "My adult life can be divided into two distinct parts. The time before I owned a washing machine and the time after." I’ve decided my life is divided by roller skates. I’d like you to consider what that thing is for you.