EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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A Year of Living Positively -Day 34

Another day of chores and errands. I bought train tickets for my regular day trip to Seoul this weekend. Plus, I'm preparing papers for my tax return, and updating records with my new contact information.

I finally had the iphone activated. I've been inputting numbers and figuring out how it operates. Yes, I bought one while traveling a few months ago but I haven't been using it until now. 

As I've been suggesting, I don't buy a lot of stuff. I especially refrain from acquiring household gadgets, except instruments of communication. I've never even owned a blender, never mind a microwave oven. Possessing an electric can-opener would be unthinkable, but I do own a toaster and even a drip filter coffeemaker. From my grandmother, I inherited some household stuff that I used to use, including a wonderful old Sunbeam brand mixer, a marvelous waffle iron and a quaint but very useful pressure cooker. They're stored in boxes back in Canada these days, though.

I like some of my things and I do form attachments to some of them, especially the vintage items. I try to keep and use useful things for several years. I even used to buy vintage cars until the maintenance costs for vintage European cars became too expensive for me.

I never know when I'll move back to Canada, so I've had an extra reason for not buying stuff. I have an acoustic piano back home for most of my adult life, so when someone offered me a deal on a great electric piano three years ago, I jumped at the chance to get it. It sits in its case by the closet practically untouched, except when a colleague's child has wanted to practice on it and when I tried finding music scripts for piano online one time. I could not find decent scripts online beyond beginner level, though.

All that said, material things are just things. I treasure them and take care good care of what I have, I find it easy to lend my stuff to others or even give it way. Most of the time, though, things have not been returned or have come back damaged, and the users have usually not seem very remorseful. I don't understand that very well, but I suppose most people take things for granted. As I always say, it's a push-button, throw-away world in the eyes of many, at least in the richer parts of it.

I value the materials and labor that go into the production of material goods, and I think I have a healthy understanding of their true prices. Yet, I don't value private ownership that much. What's more, I don't identify with stuff. For the most part, I don't see it as part of what makes me who I am. 

I thought younger adults were catching up with this early 70's-type thinking, and that this outlook, facilitated by yet another phase of recession and war, was taking root again in the 90's. I'm not so sure, although alternative lifestyles have been gaining exposure and perhaps are more frequent. More stories seem to be getting circulation, like ones about professionals unloading their possessions  and go live on a boat or walk and paint, or "successful" people renouncing their material successes and going to live on a farm, or people retiring early to go volunteer and take cycling tours. Then there are the younger ones who decry material success and are content to have small living space and devote time and labor to communities. One can only hope that attitudes are changing.

Well, I'm hanging around. I'll have an early dinner because, this evening, I'm meeting friend C who has tickets for violin concert. I think it might be a bit boring, but one motive for accepting the invitation is that the venue is my new neighbourhood and it's therefore a chance to get to know the area with someone who's familiar with it.




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