Taylor Davidson · Eagle Bridge, NY

Using what we have.
by Taylor Davidson · 23 Jun 2013
Eagle Bridge, NY, 2013

I’ve carried a hammock in my car for years, and while for some reason it never seems to get used enough, I always carry it with me.

I believe we all have these artifacts of unlived lives floating around: the swim masks we bought for a diving trip but haven’t used since, the skis stowed in the garage, the bicycle sitting in its rack, games sitting neatly in their boxes, the rarely-used or forgotten factors of production of active lives that we’ve discarded for the lives that happen, rather than the lives we consciously choose.

Stuff has an odd effect on people. The more things we have, the more things we have to mentally and physically catalog and carry around with us. There’s a lightness of mind that accompanies a lightness of possessions, but it takes a strong will and mind to pursue that lightness, as the natural state of living is to accumulate stuff. Getting rid of what we don’t need can be a taxing and exhausting endeavor, for getting rid of that swim mask is a conscious decision to never use it again. Stuff, and the decisions we have to make about stuff, can asphyxiate us, depriving us of the space necessary to breathe in our lives.

Getting rid of stuff is often labeled minimalism, but the enlightened pursuit of less isn’t about minimalism, but instead about living a conscious life. Do I truly need a hammock, and do I need to keep it in my car? No. But I consciously choose to leave the hammock in the car, and in return it gives me a feeling of possibility and adventure anywhere I go. For that, for me, the space it takes up is worth it.

And when it does get used, there’s nothing better.