I guess that’s part of the reason lately (ok, most of my life) that I have all of the things I do. I don’t make the time to sort through and make decisions about things. I’m finding that I want to spend time on activities that are going to make my life better. Like working, building my video game company, spending time with my family, going out and doing fun things.
But that’s not the only reason. I can go right back to the question above and ask myself, “Can you throw it away, Nick?” Well, I’m finding that I care less about the things that weren’t mine to begin with, so I’m more ready to throw those things away that I originally thought had value. My own things? Hmm… I’m still stuck on that question.
There are four categories I see my stuff falling into. Things that are sentimental to me, things that may be useful in the future, things I think may have value and things I’d like to give to my kids when they’re old enough.
The sentimentality is something that has been more apparent lately. I have a cardboard box that my grandfather gave me with odds and ends supplies in it like nails, screws, brackets, holders, etc. Well the box is past being on its last flap and I had to replace it. The box is still sitting in the dining room. It was my grandfather’s. One of the two possessions I definitively know that he gave me. (Well, he gave me the stuff inside. The box was an incidental container.) What am I going to do with an unusable cardboard box? Should I re-tape it and try to make it useful again? That may work if I spend some time and effort on it. But here’s the catch; it was the box that my supplies have been in for the past 18 years. (Wow has it been that long already!) It’s the supply box! So not only does it have my memory of my grandfather attached to it, it has a designation too – it’s the supply box! Oy! What am I going to do with myself? That’s just silly. But it’s the thing to uncover since this is a piece of what’s holding the stuff around. We’ll come back to this.
The next category is the useful things. The useful things are good. I’m not ready to part with useful things. I would like them all to have a place and all be in their place so when we need to use them we know we have them and they are easily accessible. I know we have things lost in the basement that we need on the rare occasion. And I know we have things that we don’t even know we could be using. The first is more frustrating. The second is surprising and exciting when we find we have a useful thing and then sometimes frustrating when we realize we went and bought something similar since we didn’t know we had one in hiding. But is it even worth the time to go through everything in the approximate 200+ boxes in our basement to pull out the few useful things we have down there? Would the time spent be more than the money saved? One of the hooks here is that if I did go down to the basement to throw everything out, I’m sure I would start seeing the useful things and get distracted with pulling them out, thereby expending many more hours. Uh.
Next category. I have lots of little things that seem to have some value in them. This mostly contains paperwork, like old bills, ideas I’ve written down, things from my music career and lots of articles pulled out of Wired magazine. Boxes of paperwork. Probably 10 to 20 Hammermill Paper boxes full of paperwork. If you work in an office type environment you’ll know the boxes I’m talking about. The ones that fit 12 reams of 250 sheets of paper. That’s a lot of paper I’ve got collected. And I’m sure if I emptied my filing cabinet out I’d fill up another 10 boxes.
And lastly, how many books can my kids read? Mostly what I have for my kids are my sci-fi books and my comic books. Would my kids even care? Genny has more toys and books at five than I could have accumulated in my first 20 years of life. She likes fairies and princesses. And doesn’t like boys. What makes me think she would be interested in my male-leaning super hero comic books? That means it’s probably all going to go to Cole. If he ends up liking comic books. Instead of sports or video games or sports video games. And again, how many books can he read? I’ve got a few thousand comic books. And would I be able to let him touch them before he’s at an age that he would respect the value of these ‘possible’ collector’s items? The items that defined my youth? Ha! I’d probably be watching over him like a hawk. That would be fun for both of us (sarcasm)! So what am I saving these for again? Did I just talk myself out of giving my youth to my children? Am I so tied to the identity of my youth that I can’t give this part of my life to my kids?
This brings me to another thought. My things define who I am. Giving or throwing them away is like giving away me! How can I do that? Like the box from my grandfather, it’s a piece of him… my things are a piece of me.
Why am I so desperately trying to hold on to me? Will I lose myself if I give away my things?
Sometimes I wish for it all to burn up or get lost in a flood. Here’s a big knock on my noggin that that doesn’t happen. But there are times I have wished that it gets taken from me so there’s nothing I can do about it but move on. But really deep down inside I don’t want that to happen. It just seems like a good way out of my situation without having to do the work. Would that resolve the issues I have inside me that are keeping the things where they are? No. It would be like the people who try to run away from their lives. You can’t escape yourself. You have to go through it. And hey! That’s why we’re doing this blog in the first place! J So we’re in the right place.
So, why am I so desperately trying to hold on to me?
When I was in my twenties I had a girlfriend that said I couldn’t remember anything. And from that point on I remember not being able to remember things as well. Did my collectionistic behavior start then? It runs in my family, so I’m pretty sure it existed before then. Maybe it’s just gotten worse with age. And now with my life being full up with kids and work and video games and new software programs, I know that some of the information leaks out my ears and I just don’t seem to be remembering as much and I think it’s probably gotten a bit worse from that.
Am I afraid of forgetting? When I try to compare Cole now to Genny at his age I have trouble remembering what she was like. Ok, I don’t seem to remember at all.
And here’s another thought that just popped up. When I was young I wanted to save and record everything in my life. I would daydream about how that could be accomplished. I still have ticket stubs from concerts and birthday cards from my family from years ago. At the end of our lives will we have a chance to sit down and review everything before Him and account and reminisce about our lives? Will we be judged? Am I trying to collect evidence from my life to show that I’ve tried to live as a good person?
Wow, that would be weird if this was all because I want to be loved. If I save these things, I’ll be able to show someone that I was a good person and they will be able to see it all right there in front of them and say to me, “Yes Nick, you’ve done a good job. We love you.”So, I have it all here. I’m ready to prove myself. Please come and look at my stuff.