Monday, September 19, 2022
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“Minor plus est,” said my Latinist friend. Less is more. I’ve heard him often lamenting that downsizing has been so difficult. “You’ll see. The house might be smaller, but less is more. For a while, I struggled with the concept because moving was like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. Less was more. strength.
I had a fleeting idea of what they meant, but I needed to think about it more. In the translocation frenzy, I hardly had time to think about it. Now that I do (while emptying the pods), what about? Why less is more?
The phrase most likely appeared in a poem by Robert Browning, “Andrea del Sarto”, in 1855. Another early phraseologist was a 19th century architect who employed it when referring to the desirability of having less clutter in buildings. It made sense. His point was not to overdo it, but rather to work with the reduced space. We are getting there. Having fewer articles will hopefully lead to simplicity.
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I have read that simplicity rhymes with happiness. OK that works. I’m not sure about that. We were pretty happy with a lot of things in a complex space that we managed to keep simple, or so we thought so far, until this smaller space.
And minimalism? The minimalist strives to use things that serve a purpose. Well, I don’t want to do that. I like superfluous things lying around here and there; such as old textbooks, extra hammers, more coffee mugs than needed, old CDs and DVDs, fountain pens, stationery, two comfy chairs, plenty of socks, golf shirts, club safety golf bags, Christmas decorations, etc. And Diane appreciates china and sheets, more than we need. Redundancy is OK.
I may have understood it. Less is more means having just what you need, and nothing more (with some exceptions, see above). We had more than we needed and it wasn’t until we had to downsize that we realized just how much. It’s about having less work to do in a smaller home. It’s about having more time to relax, pursue different interests, travel longer, and less refurbishment, overhaul, and renovation. Less lets you focus on more of what matters. But the nostalgia never goes away.
The nostalgia of moving from a place you love never goes away, and that’s good, sometimes even welcome. It’s a reminder of a past that was good, when more was more. The good thing about Nostalgia is that it’s portable and there’s always plenty of room for it wherever you go. Nostalgia is a luxury that enjoys all the space it wants.
So, we’ll tidy up the beds, put our paintings on, load the shelves, leaf through the photo albums, lay out the new garden beds, relax in the new solarium and relax.
I agree. Less will be less complicated than more. It is a stage in a journey. I am sincerely delighted.
Dr. Ed Iannuccilli is the author of three popular memoirs, “Growing up Italian; Grandfather’s Fig Tree and Other Stories”, “What Happened to Sunday Dinner” and “My Story Continues: From Neighborhood to College”. NOW he has written his fourth book “A Whole Bunch of 500 Word Stories”.
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