You knew this was coming, didn’t you? After all, I’ve been in one place for more than a year. That’s right, folks. I’m moving again!
Well, it’s not completely official. Not yet. We’re in the offer/counter-offer stage. For those of you who haven’t been with me very long, I move a lot. Since 2008, I’ve moved four times, not counting now. It’s because we not only wanted to try out several different areas of town, we wanted to rent until we found the perfect place for us, and it looks like we finally have. Now we want to buy.
It’s made me think a lot about the sheer amount of stuff in my life, stuff that I’ve packed and unpacked and now will have to pack and unpack again. There is the desire to just chuck it all and start over, but it’s more than that. Being confronted time and again by the things I surround myself with has actually changed how I see those things. Objects that used to give me joy just don’t anymore. That’s when I had to start wondering, was it just the hassle, or is it me that’s changed?
Take books. I love stories. I always will. And I like physical books (though I also adore my Kindle). I like their smell and their sound when you flip the pages. I like bookmarks and have a small collection. At one time, I collected books and had over 2000.
Now I’ve pared that down considerably, giving books to friends, donating them to libraries or Goodwill. I used to sell them to Half Price, but since that would only gain me store credit, I decided that giving them away was the way to go. I’ve kept those that mean something to me. I’ve kept my favorite authors, but most that I read, I just…let go. It didn’t give me the pain that it once would have if I’d been forced to part with them.
The only other collection I have that rivaled them is my pen collection.
This was taken in 2009 or 2010, so the pens have grown considerably. They were starting to take over my desk, and I began to wonder if I care about them as much as I used to. It gave me joy once just to look at them. Now, not so much. So far, all I’ve done is move the bulk of them to a bookshelf, but once I start packing, I think I might go through them, pick out those that resonate emotionally with me, and slowly give the rest away. Maybe I’ll even include them in any giveaways I do in the future.
It’s bittersweet, like most change. I’m sad that I don’t care about the pens or the books like I used to. It reminds me of when I drifted away from toys in childhood. I remember trying to play with them again after I’d lost interest, as if I was letting them down by forgetting them. I tried to summon the joy I once had, but I just couldn’t. Now I’ve started looking at other things and saying, “Do I still love that? Do I need it?” I’m resisting the urge to go hog wild and get rid of almost everything. I’m afraid I might come to regret that. And I’m also trying not to beat myself up if I do want to keep some things that make me happier just by having them around. I still have quite a few journals that I’ve never used, but they’re sparkly and pretty, and I like to stare at them sometimes.
Maybe that’s what I’ll rate everything by. Stare-ability. On a scale of 1-10, how much do I want to just sit and stare at this? Seems as good a measurement as any.
Have your collecting habits evolved over time? Is there any collection you once loved that now you think you can do without?