I like to take time during the ANZAC holiday period to slow down and reflect a little. I know ANZAC Day is a day for us to remember and commemorate Australians involved in military operations and that 25 April 1915 was an important day for Australia as a new country forging it’s own identity.
But for me ANZAC Day is also about reflecting on a different time where people just like me led a very different life.
In particular, I think about what it would be like to be a wife at home in 1915 and how different it would be to my own home today. I think about how much I have, how grateful I am to have it and also question how much of it I actually need.
It’s easy to find myself in a state of disarray with no time to tend to the growing mounds of ‘stuff’ dotted around our house. When I think about what a 1915 housewife would do I realise the problem wouldn’t even exist. Everything would have a place and there would be a place for everything. Only the essentials would be owned.
There would be no need for a basket full of kitchen utensils that are purely there for ‘just in case’, or a cupboard for platters of varying sizes which are rarely used, or a box of toys that has no other purpose but to fall over randomly and spew it’s contents onto the floor.
I often long for the simplicity of yesterday. Rather than having a constant stream of ‘stuff’ to attend to, I would only have what I need for day to day living and nothing more than that to maintain.
I had the pleasure of chatting to an elderly lady at the supermarket checkout a few weeks ago. She felt things were much harder for women today, ‘We never had to do all of this’ she gestured to my full shopping trolley, my ratty kids, my beeping phone. ‘When I needed milk it was delivered to my door, when I needed meat I took the children for a walk to the butcher down the road, when I needed vegetables I got them from the garden.’
I’m guessing when she needed clothes she didn’t battle her way through a major department store or shopping centre either. She probably made them herself.
We ended our chat with my new wise friend admitting that while she did like the modern conveniences of today, before she had them she never knew what she was missing.
I wrestled a chocolate egg (conveniently located at child height in the checkout aisle) from Master Mayhem’s surprisingly strong fingers and left the store wondering if I would revel in a lifestyle of days gone by, or would I be begging for my utensils, my phone and my stuff.
What do you think? Are there some things you think you could do without?