I have been thinking about things lately. Possessions. Tangible and intangible. Preemptive strike, I know there are those of you out there who would argue that if something is by definition intangible, it cannot be a possession. If you feel that way, great. But I must argue that there is intangible property. For example I possess a quirky sense of humor. Can’t touch it but I possess it anyway.
As some of you may be aware, I moved recently. No one likes to move, and I am no exception. The way I moved this time was very different from the previous way I have moved, which was by renting a truck, asking 20 of my friends to come over, to help me pack up my stuff, listen to me complain, and get it into my new place. This time, as I was moving back in with my folks, I had a handful of friends help me gather my belonging, pile them into cars over the course of a week or two and caravan them the 30+ miles to my old new abode. My parents were out of town so I was able to pile the belongings on one side of the garage and bring them into the house later.
Where did all of this come from???
There is nothing like moving to make you hate stuff. I wanted all of these things to go away. But they didn’t. They weighed me down. I needed to do something with it all. In the meantime, I moved (with the assistance of two of my pals) the massive pile into the house, more specifically, my rooms (yes I have two of them, thanks Mom and Dad for your super-awesome generosity). Two rooms that already had plenty of stuff in them.
So as I have been trying to sort through all of it, I have been thinking about what I really need and why I have so many things. I mean I really have been looking inward in a way I try not to do to often, because it usually only leads to disruptions in the space time continuum and generally speaking, havoc in the Farheen Universe.
There are many perceptions of people who have lots of things. If a person holds on to random things like newspapers and other things of minimal value, one might say that they are a hoarder. People who have lots of things like cars or houses or shoes might be perceived as materialistic or fashionable or affluent. People who have lots of books might be perceived as scholarly or pretentious depending on your level of appreciation for the written word.
I have lots of pens. And lots of movies. I have more books than I know what to do with (but that’s mostly because I got rid of my rickety bookcases before I moved). For a woman with a rather plain sense of fashion, I have a ridiculous amount of clothing.
In looking inward and trying to find the root of why I have so much stuff, I reached several conclusions:
First, I feel that coming from a less affluent background, some of my tendencies to hold on to things stem from the way I was raised. When I was younger, my family was not as well off as they are now, so we tended to hold on to things in case they would be needed in the future. Really, this was mainly my Mom’s philosophy.
Secondly, I am very sentimental. Every little thing reminds me of some place, time, thing that is important to me. And as I feel that as I grow older, I will forget important moments, places or people, I have a tendency to hold on to not only normal sentimental things like cards or letters, but also random things like pens or matchbooks and ticket stubs. And while in recent years, I have curbed this unfortunate inclination, I still come across things that don’t need to be kept.
Thirdly, The things I tend to hold on to are not valuable in the eyes of the world as much as they are to me. Take for example my “hoarding” of books. I value what is inside the books I keep. If it is not valuable to me, I give it away. There are many people who ask me to give my books away, but I don’t. They tell me I am being selfish because I won’t share what I value. But look at it from my viewpoint… If a person is telling me to give my books away, that leads me to believe that they cannot possibly value the books as much as I do. And to give the books to people like that is like casting pearls before swine. If you are really trustworthy, I will lend you my books. But really, if you are truly appreciating the books as much as I do, you would ask for my opinion or recommendations and based on the information I SHARE with you, you will go get your own copy to love and cherish the way I do. I have given copies of books to people I love but to date, there is only one person alive, that I have given one of my own books that held value. She will read this post and know who she is, and will know that the only reason I parted with it was because I recognized in her a kindred spirit and I know the only way she would ever get rid of that book is if someone were to pry it from her cold, dead hands. She told me as much. 🙂
Finally, perhaps there is truth to the idea that people with lots of stuff are looking to fill a hole in their life. That some kind of physical manifestation of whatever is lacking will make things better. But in truth, it doesn’t. It just makes it harder for you to move.
As I have realized these things about myself, I have also realized that the things that matter in life, love, trust, truth etc., those intangible possessions, I have been too casual about whom I gave those things to. I gave my heart away, my respect, my trust to individuals who did not deserve those things. I gave completely of myself and was too trusting with my intangible possessions. This is not to mean that I am feeling angry or bitter towards anyone. If I feel those things I would only feel them towards myself and really it would not be a topic of discussion here. It was just a flash from a lightbulb in my head.
So what is this rambling, uberlong post about? It is about epiphany. It is about change. Because if there is anything I have learned in the last few weeks is that stuff is just stuff. I have already begun to cull my collections of things. Even the books. What I am learning to keep safe are the important, intangible things, that I never valued enough until now. Who would have thought that a really difficult move, would arouse such soul searching? Or that it would arouse the desire to become a nomad? Funny how these things happen.