“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. Instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”
Pretty good advice from the guy who walked the walk, someone who made his home a cabin in the woods because he “wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (We had to memorize that quote in high school English class, and I am pleased to see that most of it has stuck with me, as things you memorize early in life tend to do.)
Anyway, if I lived in a cabin in Massachusetts for two years, would I accumulate heaps of smooth pebbles from Walden Pond, oddly shaped twigs, fallen nets and eye-catching rocks? Probably. Thoreau did pick up things too, but he also let them go because he felt burdened by “stuff.” Could he have anticipated our growing obsession with equating more stuff with a richer, better life?
Hmm. Could it be that my English teacher was trying to make that point stick in our materialistic, acquisitive teen brains?