Updated: May 19
I drove past an estate sale today. The very concept brought me back to Japan, and the life I'd formerly lived selling whatever goods remained after old people died. I was an "antique" dealer then. In fact, I was a scavenger. I was a grabber and purveyor of the leftovers of old people's lives. I made my living offering for resale, the nonsense filler and fluff of lives glossed over with the veneer of make-believe meaning and significance of things. I was a middle-man of materials making their transit from the dead to the soon-to-be-dead. I was a mortician of things. And in this regard, I saw so clearly how corpse-like our goods are after their owners are gone. When there's no one left to remember why these things were ever important. How vacant of meaning and sentiment our possessions become when the sentiment holder is no more. I did my best then to do a good job, to find new homes for these hollow objects of past regard, to find new owners who might, in their turn, attempt to fill these material vessels with some contrived sentiment and meaning. I saw then - though I didn't recognize it at the time - The Great Indifference peeking through the seams of our dearest possessions. That experience ruined me of possessions. And I've gladly never recovered.
I'd now rather acquire good moments than good bargains. I know this is a rather cliche sentiment. But I've found it to be true - just like some many other cliche sentiments. That's probably the reason they are cliche, because the truth of their meaning keeps coming back to us with every age and generation. I wonder if we'll ever learn at last...
I hope there's no need of an estate sale when I pass. And I hope my heirs know better that to ask, when I'm dead, "where's all his stuff?"
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.