For months, people have been warning me about this day. You see, this afternoon my parents moved out of the family home, and I apparently needed to prepare myself for the serious upset this would cause. I got this a lot.
I am not upset.
Sure, it’s a touch sad. I lived there for 23 years, after all. Yesterday I stood in my old bedroom for a minute and let my thoughts wander to the birthdays, Christmases, girlfriends etc. it had seen. But things change, and these days I worry far more about getting stuck in a rut than I do losing the reminders of pleasant times.
I occasionally consider what I’d be upset to lose if I came home to find my flat on fire. It’s not much. In a flat *full* of stuff, I’d hate to lose 8 years of digital photographs, and that’s pretty much it. Everything else is nice, but I can re-make nice. The older I get, the less I care about places and the more I care about who’s around me.12 So I don’t find myself too bothered about leaving somewhere with nice memories.
It also helps that my parents have downsized into a lovely canalside cottage. They’ve loved the canals since I was a kid, and the new place is perfect for them. They’ll probably think this is funny, but it’s nice to think they’re sorted – I don’t need to worry that they’re not happy. Admittedly the new house is slightly more problematic: it’s far more exposed, needs some work doing, broadband is much more difficult, and reaching them now requires driving down 500m of towpath riddled with potholes that can only be the result of NATO bombing exercises. But hey – it’s boring to be boring.
Their moving isn’t upsetting, it’s cool. New chapters, and that.
Anyway, this post was meant to be an excuse to show these pictures of my 22-month-old niece, who was toddling about all day as we carted boxes around her. I (unbelievably) forgot to take my SLR, so these were taken with my iPhone’s rather-sucky camera. The pictures don’t come out of the phone looking too great, but a bit of contrast processing in Lightroom can do wonders, and I’m quite pleased with the results:
- Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying objects aren’t important. I am actually a militant materialist. I cannot stand the incessant whines of people who think consumerism is the worst thing ever. It’s like they honestly fail to understand that buying an iPod can, in fact, make you happier. Not in the same way as falling in love, no, but if you can now enliven a crappy commute by listening to music, that’s a good thing. In the materialism-haters’ world, said iPod owner is being duped by evil corporations, and their free will usurped such that their only desire becomes to out-do the neighbours by purchasing more stuff. Crap. I have yet to hear a convincing case that this is a genuine social problem. This weirdly prevalent ‘truth’ sounds suspiciously like part of the golden-ager, isn’t-the-world-going-to-the-dogs attitude I find so tiresome. Materialism-haters fail to appreciate that consumers are capable of introspection, and are not mindless slaves to advertising. Sure, advertising can be effective in subtle ways. Sure, there are probably people who do live to spend money. But nobody I know thinks shopping is going to complete their lives, and bring them every joy. They all realise it’s just one of a thousand tiny ways to improve things, and are perfectly capable of understanding and balancing a desire for new things. I hate that people are told they should feel guilty for buying stuff. [↩]
- Ahem. Not sure where that came from. [↩]