I used to teach a story by D.H. Lawrence called “Things”. It was a story of a couple who started to teach overseas, and because of that they collected storage units all over the world where they could keep their things. I will include a copy of the link to the story at the bottom of this post so if you want to read it you can. But the main idea behind the story was freedom. Are we truly free if we are tied to our things. I would really make the point with my students when I would ask them at the end of the lesson, “Do we own our possession, or do our possessions own us?” Many of them would believe that they were the ones that were in control in these situations because there was no way an inanimate object could control a person, but we started talking about houses and the amount of work that went into maintaining them, cars and the amount of money that it costs to keep them running, and they would really get angry with me when we started to explore our relationships with our phones.
I talked to them for a position of superiority, thinking I was above all of that nonsense of letting my possessions become the more important part of our relationship, but this was until I moved overseas. I knew that there would be certain things that I would like to keep, and I got a storage unit so that I could keep those things. I even have a monthly bill automatically paid so that I don’t lose my possessions on the rare chance that I forgot to pay a bill. It wasn’t a big unit, but I still packed it with various things. And despite this, I still got rid of a lot of stuff. I had simplified my life or so I thought.
But now every time I come back to Denver, I spend a day going over to my storage unit to visit my stuff. I can’t do anything really exciting with it because it is all thrown in a the small space, and some of the stuff that I really would like to visit again was placed far in the back when I started, thinking that I would keep the place well organized. Half of the time I find something and wonder why I kept it at all. It is a part of my life that I have not let go yet, and I wonder if I will ever be able to do so. It is the connection that keeps me coming back to this small little shed in the middle of the city.
I do know that if I ever come back to live in the United States that I will love to have these things, and it will make the transition easier, but I wonder if I will ever need a large home to collect all of my things in. I would have to say that one of the things I really do appreciate about the adventure that I embarked on three years ago is that I no longer need a huge space and a whole bunch of things in order to be happy. I can live a simpler life. I just have one thing hanging over my head that would make it complete, my storage unit. I don’t know if I am ready to get rid of it yet, but I now have a new appreciation of what D.H. Lawrence was getting at with his story. Can I be the master of my possessions or will they always be the master of me?
You can read the story talked about in this post by clicking on the link below: