I’ve been trying to clear out some clutter lately, minimalist-style. It has been kind of cathartic to re-handle all this crap, and think about the things I didn’t use, and the various “kicks” I was on when some of this came into my life in the first place.
My library, especially, looks like the Museum Of Short-Lived Enthusiasms. Then there are the Spanish language CD’s when I was going to really learn Spanish, this time! Various software books for apps I was going to be expert on. And about a dozen or so other interests that for some reason seemed so appealing when I was originally considering them, but have abandoned after a few half-hearted attempts.
Why do we do this? What would life be like for us if we actually followed through on ALL of this stuff? What if we became that guitar-playing, Spanish-speaking, Excel-expert gourmet cook that we apparently wanted to be at one time? And why didn’t we?
I think the answer is just Life. For at the same time we are trying to pick our way through Life’s maze and discovering all this amazing stuff, there’s another turn ahead and we need to have to put things down and worry about something more pressing. You were doing fine learning a new hobby or interest and then there was that week you had to put in some extra hours at work, and you just never went back to it.
Or things progressed until an even further commitment of time or money was needed, which you couldn’t make. Or a million other reasons that are forgotten to you now.
Going back and seeing all this stuff just before you haul it off is like visiting a snapshot of the past. You remember where and when you picked it up, and what life was like for you then. Waves of nostalgia are triggered. This is why most people never get rid of their crap!
I find the cure for this is being brutally “present”, as our Zen friends might put it. Life is right NOW, and if you don’t want to do it now, you are probably not going to do it ever. Life flows past you and you can grab for what you can, but you can never get it all. And even the brief exposure you may have had taught you something.
So let it go. It really does feel good to empty and then see what fills you next.