My wife gets a magazine called Real Simple, which markets itself as being about simplifying your life. She seems to really like the magazine, but she doesn't dispute me when I say that it's strange how a magazine about making your life simpler can have so many pages. I told her if they really want to make life simpler, their magazine wouldn't exist, thus leaving us with one less thing in the world to read and a lot less paper used.
But I don't want to pick on that magazine. It's just a symbol for me of how hard it is to simplify. And it makes me feel a little better at my own failures to simplify. Simplifying is something I really want to do, but the world and my own personal desires are making it very hard.
I grew up with very little money & when I became an adult and got to a point where I made pretty good money, I had some desire to buy the things I didn't have previously. I wanted a big house, computer and electronic gizmos, nice cars, and I eventually got them. Not glorious riches, but plenty.
I've never gone overboard in spending on these things, so this isn't a sad tale of buying what you can't afford. Instead it's a tale of finding out that many of these things are a pain in the ass and I'd like a lot less of them.
But even more than the bigger things, it's the little crap everywhere that I want to get rid of but just can't seem to. Old clothes that I can't seem to part with even though I don't really want to wear them. Old furniture I won't use again. Gifts that I've been given that I didn't want and don't like but feel bad about getting rid of. Junk I've bought on vacations that serves no discernible purpose but was purchased in the fun emotions of the moment. Old hobbies I'll never pursue again but that still are hanging around, taunting me-yes, I'd love to play the guitar but how many years have to go by before I accept that I'm probably never going to have the time/inclination it takes to even get good enough to play a tune someone might recognize? My chance at sitting around a campfire entertaining young lovelies with my guitar skills and my thin yet attractively vulnerablevoice has come and gone.
I'm trying to throw something away every day. I think that's at least a start. But then, without realizing it, I'll go somewhere and come home with something. I put that something down and it suddenly becomes part of my home. I don't want that bobblehead they gave away at the baseball game, but it made its way into my home because I didn't say "no thanks" at the stadium entrance. I didn't need that free T-shirt from a beer I don't drink, etc.
I'd like to get rid of the clutter because I feel like my mind will then feel less cluttered, which will make me feel less stressed and more successful. But it's really hard.
Can it be done? Or am I doomed to being a pack rat until the day I die?
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