Recently I bought a book called “Simplicity” by Jennifer Kavanagh. Although a short text, it’s immensely thought-provoking. For instance, Kavanagh questions whether the opposite of simplicity is complexity or actually chaos. I took the book to Quaker meeting this morning as I said I’d lend it to someone there (and then someone else. And then someone else). I mentioned to my friend that I’d had the urge in the last week to give away all of my possessions. This solicited an explosion of laughter, with my friend commenting that I’d never manage to give all my stuff away. While she is certainly right – I can’t honestly imagine a life without accessories (a line which no doubt makes me sound like I should be in “Clueless” or some other American teenage girl film) – her reaction was a bit of a red rag to a bull. Seizing the challenge inherent in her words, I returned home with added zeal in my on-going quest to purge all my stuff. And the results? Within a few hours, I’d sorted through all of my personal documents. In the grand scheme of things they were pretty sorted anyway, but I have now been especially ruthless in ditching out of date or obsolete paperwork. I also moved everything into plastic wallets and into a ring binder folder. The old concertina file that no longer suits my needs can go. One less item to own. Plus decided to close some old accounts that are no longer worth keeping open. Ha ha, I thought – further simplification of finances, which seems to a geeky but recurring theme in my life. I moved onto clearing some of the ring binders containing work related to my PhD. Have realised that I don’t need to keep most – if any – of it. More shelf space – hurray! Three down, ten to go. Then things got serious. I attacked my shoe collection. Having recently found great joy in giving a pair of shoes I love but never wore to a friend, I decided this was a good policy to adopt with nearly all the shoes that haven’t been out of their box in months. Two pairs got a last minute reprieve, but eleven pairs are still being evicted. So, one concertina file, three ring binders and eleven pairs of shoes. It hardly makes me an ascetic, but it’s slowly chipping away, slowly letting go. I think the challenge that my friend inadvertently threw down has only just begun.


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