Wednesday August 7th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
I unloaded two more big boxes of books today, but it didn’t put a dent in the master pile. I did get a few requests from yesterday, and did my best to oblige. Sally Edwards requested Anthony Robbins and Zig Ziglar, and since she lives not far from me I delivered them to her front door.
Bill Gorgo and I got together to prepare for fall comedy classes, and he helped himself to some joke books I’ve never used but hauled all over the country through my many moves. I mistakenly thought I’d have a use for them, but never did. They were dead weight, and I’m glad they are out of my life. If I should happen to need them, I’m sure Bill will let me use them whenever I want.
This kind of mindset is probably more common than I realize. My grandfather, father and uncle were all borderline hoarders, and wouldn’t get rid of anything if their life depended on it. They’d save rusty tools, boards with nails in them and all kinds of other things that never had any use.
Their wives used to nag each of them to clean out their backlog of junk, but none of them ever did. Then they died, and left their families the horrific task of getting rid of it all. I’ve seen it take place three times in my personal family experience, and I want to make sure I don’t follow suit.
I thought I was above that by saving books, but I really wasn’t. I do read often – probably a lot more than average – but I still have a far bigger supply than I will ever need in this life or several others. Even if I read a book a month, that’s sixty books in five years. I’ve got at least a thousand or more, not counting magazines and articles I’ve clipped over the years. Nobody needs all that.
There’s more than I’ll ever read on the internet alone not to mention the world class library just two blocks from where I live. If I feel a reading need, there’s an easy fix seconds away. I’ll allow myself to save a reasonable number of personal favorites, but the rest will return to circulation.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to give a lot more away. I’d be fine if someone else got some use out of all this rather than have it sit there and do nothing. I had my opportunity, but could only get to so much. Holding on any longer is not productive for anyone. Away it all goes, the faster the better.
Today I tried my luck with Half Price Books - knowing I wasn’t going to get rich. Wow, was I right. A seller is always at their mercy, and all I got was an offbeat offer of $35. I couldn’t figure out how they arrived at that number and I suppose I could ‘negotiate’, but that’s never something I enjoy. My grandpa would have loved it and tried to squeeze every last nickel, but that’s not me.
I took the money and my empty bins, and walked to my car feeling relieved. I’m going to keep shrinking my possessions until it hurts – and then I’m going to shrink them some more. Anything I’m getting rid of is replaceable if I really wanted it again, but for now I’d rather be free of mind.
I keep recalling how Gandhi used to allow himself only a handful of possessions – one of them being his eye glasses so he could read. I don’t know if I’ll make it that far, but I’d bet it wouldn’t kill me if I did. Most people I know could get by with a lot less, and this feels like the right thing to do at this time. Yesterday unloading one box stung ever so slightly. Today, it felt really good.
It has to be good for everyone to shuffle the cards in one’s own deck on occasion. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. I feel a growth surge coming on, and my creative juices are still bubbling as well. The less I have to worry about material objects, the more I can spend on creative ideas.