stuff

I have a lot of stuff.

Downsizing from a 2400 square foot house to an 800 sq foot one bedroom made me realize how much crap I’ve accumulated over the years. Lately, I’ve been thinking about selling or donating a chunk of my stuff. I have been feeling bogged down by it all, hampered and made heavy by this accumulation. I’ve been starting to feel like the junk lady from the movie, “Labyrinth

I am can get okay with selling my beautiful Danish Modern sofa and desk, I can get rid of unused clothes, and sort through my boxes of random collected crap. But I’m having a difficult time with the idea of parting with my books. It’s amazing how much of my identity is wrapped up in this stuff. Especially my books.

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I suppose they have been with me the longest, so they are old, comfortable friends by now. Some of these books have traveled with me since I was in single-digit years, some I have read and re-read and re-re-re-read. I have a book that my 4th grade teacher gave me, “Where The Red Fern Grows”. I have read it every year since then (and I still cry at the end. Shhh, don’t tell anyone). I have books that my mom wrote and bound for me, a book my uncle illustrated and wrote for me, books of theater and philosophy and science fiction – all of which have had great impact on how I view and think about the world around me, my relationships with other people, and my core values.

How can I get rid of these treasures?

Some friends have suggested I just get them on a digital reader.
Not only would that be cost prohibitive – I’ve collected this small library over the past 30 plus years – but something is lost in the translation for me when I read a digital copy. I feel this loss moreso with companion books than I do with a new reading. I can’t imagine reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” on a computer. Page lifting and travel has worn the old book. My hand-me-down-first-edition Oz books have that certain ‘old book’ smell. I have half that collection, my cousin has the other half, so not only do I have the wonderful tactile sensation while I hold those old hardbound copies, but I have a connection with my dear cousin, and to our parents who gave us these books.

I am a person who doesn’t sit still for long. I move. I have lived in dozens of towns in my life. There is a thrill to encountering a new city, and discovering it’s secrets. Having a lot of ‘stuff’ doesn’t work well for a person who likes to travel and move. Being encumbered is difficult for someone who gets an antsy feeling in her bones and motorcycles on her mind.

This is a conundrum.
I’m still working on it.

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I feel the need to have a disclaimer about the disorder of my books. Usually I organize them according to genre, but I have yet to do that since the latest move. 🙂

 

addiction

Every media outlet I came across reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose.

It is indeed a loss of a fine actor, and it is sad when anyone succumbs to addiction and worse when the addiction wins.

I read many comments about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death and it got me thinking about how people frame addiction. I’ve heard people talk about being saddened for the loss of the actor, that we will miss out on great future performances. Some people say they don’t feel sorry for famous people who die of overdoses – as if they deserved it. Those folks accuse the famous of being selfish. So on one hand, we grieve the loss of their talent and on the other hand we condemn them as if they had any control over their addiction, this terrible disease. We objectify the famous person as not more than their talent and get angry at them for not giving it to us. I think that perhaps it is we who are selfish.

“He was so talented and had everything and threw it all away.”
That’s not how addiction works.
Just because someone is talented and from the outside appears to be doing well in their relationships and financially does not mean they do not suffer from demons. Addiction is cross-cultural, and doesn’t care about class or talent or intelligence.

“Some pour so much emotion into their craft. Seems at times it comes with an expense.”
This assumes a lot about the actor or artist. (I recall a Laurence Olivier quote my dad used to like telling me, ‘upon seeing Dustin Hoffman`s “method” acting technique of not sleeping and making a mess of himself to get into character while shooting Marathon Man (1976)’
“Dear boy, it`s called acting.”

Everything risky has a potential dire consequence. Hell, living has dire consequences.
We hear about the few famous people who die of overdoses, but we don’t hear
about the multitudes of middle-class, poor, or homeless that die everyday from overdoses. I’d change it to, “Being human can come at such an expense.”
And I would wager that the numbers of not-famous people dying of O.D.s is far larger than famous people.

“Money doesn’t buy happiness.”
No, but I am happy when I don’t have money stress. Money can buy food and shelter.
Last night, an astute friend remarked that “Death is happiness for some”

Some people are locked in a cage. Dying releases them from that cage.
Philip Seymour Hoffman had talent, family, money, but he, like a terrifying number of people, was locked in a cage.

time flies….

Has it been over a week already? Did I miss my deadline?
Time flies, as the saying goes.

I prefer the slowing down of my perception of time that happens when I’m on a motorcycle ride, or camping, or with friends. The long, leisurely days. Sometimes during those moments on the road, or lounging about in a hammock on a warm day, time is as relaxed as I am.

Then there are days like today where time seems to be ticking along at a reasonable pace. It is Goldilocks’s middle bowl of porridge. Neither too hot, nor too cold. Not to fast, nor too slow. The screwy thing about time perception though, is that come tomorrow (Sunday), today (Saturday) will seem like it passed quickly and without fuss.

My dad once asked my elderly grandpa if he learned one thing from this life,
what was it?
Grandpa hung his head and looked sad.
He replied, “That life goes by very quickly.”

I think about that reply often.
How does one balance living life to the fullest with being responsible and pragmatic?
One answer I’ve often heard is to “find work you love.”
But that’s not possible for a majority of us.
My dad would have told me to find something I love in any work.
That is more feasible.
However, I don’t want to live a life of having to find joy.
I want to live it!
And for me “living it” tends to mean creative endeavors and travel – neither of which pay much at all.

So, back to the original question: How does one balance living life to the fullest with being responsible and pragmatic?