Friday, July 9, 2010

Memoirs of a Pack Rat

I have always been a pack rat. Judging by the 10 year old received Christmas cards in my parents house, it might be a genetic trait.

But people put time and energy into those cards and letters. They don't write themselves, you know. Besides, don't you want to remember what your third cousin Sally was doing in 2001? It might come in handy later.

For me, the journey towards minimalism is shaping up to be a long one. Honestly, it already has been. I decided while living in a college dorm room that the more belongings you have, the more you have to clean and organize and maintain. Frankly, I have better things to do with my time than rearrange meaningless junk.

But all the cards from my high school and college graduations aren't meaningless, are they? What if someone who gave me one dies, and it's the last piece of paper I ever receive from them?

How about those countless souvenirs from the far-flung places my friends and I have been blessed to visit? How does one survive without half a dozen Chinese fans?

What about that soccer uniform? Maybe without it I will forget I ever played soccer.

Those doubles of almost every picture I own could be important, because what if I lose the first set? Going with that logic, I should also keep a backup set of all journals, academic records, and financial information- just in case.

And that candy from halloween? You know it is perfectly fine.

I listen to my internal dialogue with horror and humor, sadness and hope. Until you really take stock of what you have, both in comparison to what you need and in comparison to the rest of the world, you don't realize how much of your identity is tied into your belongings. Think of how we describe people- the boy in the blue shirt, the woman who drives the black SUV, the girl with the purple bookbag, the man who lives in the big green house on the corner- and you will realize how much we associate people with the material items around them.

I don't doubt this journey toward a simple life will turn out to be more far more psychological than physical, more emotional than logical.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

I get this Nicole. I used to be a pack-rat too, so when I started to simplify, it was like I was throwing away memories (or worse, people). But I have to say, once you do it, you feel SO MUCH LIGHTER. Stuff loses some of its hold. And you find the memories and people are still there.

Mary said...

So so true...I love freeing myself of the weight of material possessions that have no eternal value...thanks for the thoughts.

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