I’m guessing that we’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but I wonder how many of us know where it comes from? From the research I’ve done it seems that this phrase has come to us via a quite tortuous route. Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, inPhysiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” (Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.)
A number of years later, in an essay entitled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote: “Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.” That translates into English as ‘man is what he eats’.
I’m guessing that neither Brillat-Savarin or Feuerbach meant their quotations to be taken literally. They were stating that that the food one eats has a bearing on one’s state of mind and health.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because a few days ago I came to a rather startling realization, and it was about my watches. Okay – so it wasn’t exactly about my watches but more about what watches symbolize in my life.
I like to collect things. One of the things that I’ve collected over the years is lots of watches (this is just a sampling of them). I have watches in many colours and many designs. Twice each year, when we change the clocks to/from daylight savings time, I have had to set aside a considerable chunk of time to reset all of those watches. The last time I counted I was doing this some 23 times!
That was before. Yup, I’m starting to divide life up into “before retirement” and “since retiring”. It seemed important then to be well put together and I did have somewhat of a reputation to maintain about being someone who had all of the accessories matching; not just shoes and jewellery but also eyeglasses and watches.
What I came to realize a few days ago is that I wear the same watch every day now. It’s a Timex (read – nothing fancy) and when you press what a watchmakers website tells me is called “the pusher” (you know, the thing that you pull out to set the time) it lights up. This is really important to me when I’m travelling. This way when I wake up in the dark in a hotel room – disoriented entirely – I can easily at least know what time it is. This is a functional watch. It does what I need. It matches nothing. I guess this is a new way of defining myself, what do you think?
When I get dressed up there are really only two other watches I’m wearing these days; one that David bought with his winnings at a casino in California a number of years ago and another that my mother gave me that’s a replica of a Jackie Kennedy watch. That’s it; three watches altogether.
Batteries have been dying in that big watch collection and I’ve not been replacing them. So what I’ve got now is a lot of watches that I’m not wearing and I’d be happy to share them with you. Just let me know your colour and style preference!
Things continue to evolve and I continue to be able to reduce the amount of “stuff” that weighs down my life. Stay tuned – if you’re a size 8.5 I’ll soon likely have lots of great shoes to pass along as well! Not great for supporting the economy I suppose, but a good way to move through this financial crisis.
Anything else you need that I might have?