There's this kid I know, Victor. He's not homeless. He's twenty years old. He works 10 hour days at least six days a week. He has very little. He only purchases what he needs. When he speaks: he gets to the point in less than ten words. Victor will never be homeless unless someone burns down his house, steals all his money, blows up the place he works at and separates him from all his family and friends. It would take doing all of that at once to put Victor on the street.
I wish I had been like Victor when I was twenty years old. He has more wisdom than most people over forty that I know.
Victor's ability to keep his life organized... that impresses the living daylights out of me. Notice I mentioned he speaks to the point in few words...
Organizing my thoughts is a skill I had to develop over the course of a lot of time. It did not come naturally to me. Knowing who I am, and knowing who I was plays a big part in everything I'm about to tell you. I was a mess. I was a pack rat. And I often had diarrhea of the mouth at times I felt free to speak, often unable to figure out when I should stop talking. Sometimes, still, I revert to that state. It's never good when it happens.
In the blog entry on MA (Less is More) I began speaking of the notion that hoarding and talking too much seem to go hand in hand. Since then, I've come to believe there's even more to it and even more connected than I previously thought. That these things are somehow a product of disorganized thinking, and that leads us back to “less is more.” Less to take care of, less to have to manage, better organized...
It's so simple!
Has anyone made this connection before? Are there any great psychology white papers on this? Did someone do a study on the notion that, if someone is a pack-rat, if someone has to speak 500 words before getting to the point they're trying to make, and both these qualities are present in the same person, part of the solution is to shed everything, downsize and learn to manage a little rather than a lot? (Notice my run-on sentence... see? Still guilty!)
Is homelessness a natural therapy for this type of person?
I can just imagine some poor kid who never cleans his room, spends too much time playing Xbox and can't shut up when he opens his mouth getting prescribed this by a therapist.
“We're going to take away everything you have, and you're going to live on the street for six months... or till you get a job, whichever is longer...”
I do remember how fearful I was when I first became homeless. It's something that everyone experiences at first. Perhaps I was lucky. I slid into homelessness rather abruptly. It did not come in stages. I did not have a vehicle to carry stuff in. I had no money to put mountains of crap in storage. I was not weighted down at all. In spite of the terror, I truly was freed from all this stuff that there was no conceivable way for me to keep.
A friend of mine is about to become homeless again, I believe for the second time. This person had a vehicle the first time, but no longer does, and will be facing life as I've faced it. Another friend lost his vehicle after he became homeless, and I've watched him slide into a bit of a comfort zone. Neither of these people are substance abusers. Both have similar qualities to those I describe above, and a whole lot of homeless people, who are not substance abusers, do! (Not to mention those who are substance abusers... meth, alcohol, etc... but that's a bigger issue).
When people ask me about being homeless, I will sometimes tell them that I think I'm exactly where God wants me to be. Am I where I need to be? Is this the place which is the best place for me to be at this time?
If I think of being homeless as a type of corrective therapy, I'd have to say the answer to all those questions is an emphatic “YES!”
So to you, my readers, I present to you this hypothesis: Is Homelessness a valid corrective therapy?
Compare Victor to the rest of us, and it tells me that there's some merit to the notion...