Something (new) is wrong with me

>> Friday, November 19, 2010

Something is wrong with me. Something new, I mean.

I don't want any more stuff.

Anyone who knows me--particularly those who have visited my cluttered house, and my even more cluttered office--knows that I have stuff. Lots of it. I have video games, and toys, and art, and baseballs and baseball bats, and books (lots and lots of books), and old typewriters, and bobbleheads, and binders, and comic books, and--you get the picture.

But I'm having a crisis. I'm thinking that maybe I don't need all this stuff.

I've always loved how spartan some homes are. And visiting Japan, I saw some truly spartan spaces. There's a simple elegance to emptiness--so much so that when those spaces do have something special on display, it's even more highlighted by the fact that it's not hidden among the bric-a-brac. Wendi and I have talked about this before: you can have so much cool stuff that the coolest stuff gets lost in the chaos.

But though I've always loved the spartan homes I've visited, I've always had to be honest with myself and admit that's just not me. I'm a collector. A buyer. I like stuff.

But then something weird happened. Lately, we've been creating online wishlists for ourselves and our families to know what we'd like for Christmas/solstice presents so we can know we're giving--and getting--things that are really wanted. (In the world of stuff, nothing is worse than keeping around something just because somebody else gave it to you.)

But this year, I've had trouble putting together a list. In fact, there's only one thing I can even think to ask for--an iTrip transmitter to plug into my Sansa Fuze mp3 player so I can listen to it through our car radio.

It costs $17.00.

My list is usually filled with stuff I love: DVDs, books, toys, board games, video games, electronic gizmos. But this year, I'm just not interested. DVDs? Why bother? We have Netflix. We can have anything here at the house in three days. Do I really need to own the first and only season of Ellery Queen, when I'll probably only watch it one time, and when I can easily get it from Netflix?

Toys? Where am I going to put them? I love these new Mini Mug Star Wars characters from Mighty Mugs, but I'm running out of wall space. And next season, there's just going to be some other cool toy to rival it. Where will that go?

New video games? I spent an hour the other night trolling Amazon's top 100 bestselling video games, and I found only two--count 'em, TWO--things I was remotely interested in, and neither of those compelled me to put them on my list. Most video games now are shoot 'em ups, and I'm not good at those and don't particularly enjoy them. (Perhaps because I'm not good at them.) As for an immersive game like Civ V--when do I have the time for something like that? I'm not in college anymore.

Electronic gizmos? I already have the mp3 player I want, and a good set of headphones. Yes, I'd love an iPad, but that's a big ticket item that's too much to ask for from any one person for the holidays. That's something I'll have to purchase on my own, in time. Beyond that, and something to help me play my mp3 player on my car radio, I want for nothing electronic.

Board games? Okay, there are board games I want, board games I'll buy in the coming year, I'm sure. But we have so many great games already we have trouble deciding which one to play each week on game day! It seems wrong to buy MORE games when we hardly have time to play the great ones we have already.

Books? Okay, I always want books. The problem here is that when I see a book I want to read, I buy it. I rarely have a book wish list come holiday time. I already own all the ones I want to read, and I have such a stack of unread books now that asking for more to add to it feels counterproductive.

What I realized I really want, more than anything, is time. More time to write, more time to play board games, more time to read, more time to brainstorm, more time to hang out with Wendi and Jo.

If anybody can show me where I can buy time, please send me a link. I'd like to add it to my wishlist.


tanita davis November 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

Oh, dear. Occasionally travel is so broadening that our minds expand and can't go back into their regular shape...

Sold: one house, two cars, many possessions. We live like college students, in a rented house, resisting the urge to collect too many big things because we'll have to ship them when we go. It's insane, but it's broken the addiction to adding more items to my possessions list. Now I look at my books, even, and start to feel itchy. I donate more to libraries than ever.

I like the idea that Enough is as good as a feast, and I like that my idea of "enough" grows ever smaller. (Okay, wish that totally applied to food. Not ...exactly...) I don't now where it'll end, though. I don't see myself trekking through the world with a backpack.

If you find that link for time...

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