I am addicted to getting rid of my stuff.
3 weekends ago, I hauled all my stuff to my friend's place on the base and we had a yard sale. When that was over, I grabbed the two laundry baskets of things I figured I could still sell and dumped the rest on the poor folks at Value Village. Apparently they were expecting me, because they had a designated drop-off point at the back of the store with two real-live attendants to help me purge my junk. The other stuff got listed on our local free classified site, and I sold one exersaucer and five stamp sets. To date, I have made $190.
Yesterday, after getting almost all the vegetables we've started into the ground, I removed the Captain's grow operation out of our bedroom forever. Rosemary's Baby is finally past the point where he wants to dump the soil every which way, so next year it can go in a hallway somewhere. So, the big, ugly work table covered in foil, with grow lights hanging from every available surface is now out in the potting shed, and will not reappear in the room that is supposed to be my sanctuary from barking dogs and evil children. I can walk around my bedroom now without having to worry about knocking over plants or bumping into a table corner. It's heaven!
And, as always, I have a donation pile going, and now also a try-to-sell-first pile so that when I come across something that no longer has a use for me, I have somewhere to swiftly throw it. It's absolutely liberating.
I think it's taken me 35 years to know--and I mean really know, in my heart and deep down in the recesses of my brain, as opposed to logically knowing but not really believing--that the key to my own happiness does not lie in my stuff. We've become this society that tries to console itself, to solve its inevitable problems--of a crappy economy, our various relationship woes, and the ongoing mess of life in general--by taking ourselves to Wal Mart and buying a large-screen TV or a trendy, made-in-a-sweatshop wardrobe. And it doesn't make us happy. We know that, but we don't know what else to do, so we settle for that temporary high of having something new and shiny to distract us from our problems, then feel even worse than we did in the first place when the credit card bill rolls in.
I read in a magazine yesterday that studies have shown that people who spend their money on experiences--concerts, vacations, nights out etc etc--are happier than those of us who spend it on material possessions. And it makes perfect sense. I have to be honest, I'm lucky enough to already be pretty reigned-in when it comes to spending, but I do have my lapses. So, from here on out, my plan is to be more conscious of what I'm doing at the stores and why, and to focus harder on enjoying every minute I'm getting on this planet. I want to experience new things, and enjoy the things I already know I like doing. Of course this won't stop me from shopping altogether, but I hope it'll help me really reflect on what I'm buying and why. I don't need any more clutter around here, and this past month of purging has introduced me to a new sense of calm.
So yes, I will make the occasional purchase of something I love (my new-used ring is now being referred to around here as "The Pink Panther"--that alone is worth the $6 price tag!), but my plan is to continue to spend less and less, and to focus on experiencing life.
Because, as it turns out, there's a good chance I'm only going to get one of them.