I recently sold a number of old items on Ebay. Now that most of the auctions are done and I’ve shipped off the boxes, the feeling is like nothing else. Well, almost.
I remember when I felt this way last. It was some four years ago when I sold my car. It was the one biggest item I have ever owned and most expensive. At first I thought I would never be able to get along without it, but now I look back and laugh. Let alone the mere cost, upkeep, parking tickets, insurance… The bigger problem was that it was just something else on my mind, something else to worry about. Just like my car, these old objects aren’t around me anymore, getting in the way of my thoughts and actions. Toys I haven’t played with in years? Gone. Old video games that barely work? Gone. Other things I haven’t touched in years? Please.
One of my friends pleaded with me to keep all these things. “How cool will it be when you look on these things years from now?” My answer? “Not nearly as cool when I look at my clean apartment today.” More importantly, theses things aren’t cluttering my mind anymore. And let’s face it: I’ll be 35 this year. Am I going to wait another 15 years until I’m 50 to finally get a good price on my comic book collection? Pfft, half of the shit I offloaded isn’t even worth anything any more. My Nintendo won’t be worth another dime in five years, Prolly less. And I’d rather have the money now.
The thing is, we can have the best of both worlds. As we age, we learn the ability to compartmentalize. Sometimes this has a negative effect, but if done right, it’s a quite useful skill. I can get older without growing up. I can still be a big kid with a bunch of toys around. But they lurk only in certain places, physically and mentally.
Still so many of us carry these objects through our life, objects that have little or no value. I’m not talking about a hobby or that rocking chair your mom gave you. That shit is great, and if it brings you joy, by all means, keep it, but USE it. We don’t need to hang on to every little piece of everything. Have some faith in your memories — they are already skewed in your favor anyways.
I was painting and on my ipod came Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train”. I remember this song came out when I was a formidable teen and the accompanying video, which they would have different versions of displaying children who have “lost their way”:
I always thought the idea of running away was really bad. I mean, no matter how much I hated my parents, (which for the record I didn’t so I’m kinda talking outta my ass here) I knew I had it good there, and whatever I hated I could escape when I got older. But then again, no one was beating the shit out of me.
I commend their effort, but it was really ironic to learn that the video placed a number of teens back into situations that were not so good for them. i.e. an abusive family situation:
A humble reminder that even the most altruistic actions can result in the opposite.
This required a little more elbow grease: