Monday, April 28, 2014

So many things

When I lived with my ex it felt like we had lots of things. Tons and tons of dust collecting items that we were loathe to part with, crammed into a tiny apartment. Why are we so attached to these things? Most of what we had was books and as people who met in a bookstore and both had a love of all things bibliophile, it was blasphemy to even consider getting rid of a book. Even a book that was given to us, on a topic that neither of us cared about, nor would we ever read, but it contributed to our ever growing collection so we couldn't part with it. When we signed up for renters insurance, the bulk of what we owned with value was books. When we moved, it was boxes upon boxes of books. Literally over 50% of our moving boxes were filled with books (and let me tell you they were a PAIN to lug up 3 flights of stairs when we moved to WA). When we broke up we had to sort through those books, trying to decide who was the rightful owner of each book. I think I may have kept a few that really belonged to him, just out of spite and because I had the upper hand in the break up. Now I keep books because its habit. It used to be a compulsion to buy a book every time I walked into a bookstore. Now that I've been using the library more frequently, it feels good to give those books back knowing I can check them out if I ever want to read them again and that I don’t have to feel guilty if I get 10 pages in and realize I don’t want to finish the book, but feeling like I do because I paid for it and I’ll be a fraud if its on my shelf and I didn't read it! I've kept books for ridiculous reasons, like how people will perceive me if they see I have Tolstoy or Moore's Utopia on my shelf. NO ONE ever visits! Why should I care!? I keep them because I read them once and enjoyed them…but will I ever read them again? If not, why keep them? I keep them because my new boyfriend has shelves of books and what will he think of me if I get rid of too many of my books? Should I keep them in case we move in together? Dumb.

Its not just books either. DO I really need that extra Ikea candle holder lantern identical to the one hanging in my entry way? I never use it, it collects dust on top of a tall bookshelf, but sure, I’ll keep it. I keep things because they have attachments to people and memories, but I don’t need these things. If I lost everything in a fire, I wouldn't have them anyway. So I'm trying, really trying to cut down on my material possessions this year. Its a kind of slow process, but it feels good. I don't NEED all of this junk. I've been really into the topic of 'happiness' lately, reading books and blog articles about it. What happiness means to people, how important it is, how to really achieve it. Everyone has slightly different opinions of course, but one common theme I've noticed is cutting down on clutter - both emotional and material. So that is what I'm working on... a little spring cleaning. 

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