Are you bound by your stuff?

First off, I’m listening to jazz as I write this. Maybe it will mean that my cadence will slow way down. Maybe it will mean that I will pick up smoking cigarettes, although I hope it doesn’t. Maybe it will mean that my desk will be soaked in circular red wine stains – I’d be alright with that actually. Coffee table Jazz is what spotify calls it. I think music playing in the background can have a large impact on your writing and Joshua Redman is calming me, so that you Joshua.

I am typing atop my writer’s desk I got for $12 at the restore, along with an office chair. Check out the habitat for humanity restore in your area if you need furniture, there is a lot of second hand stuff you have to sift through, but you may just find a gem.  Although, the gems I found are not polished or shiny.

I am sitting in my new room, in a new city and I am loving it. My room is the coolest it has ever been; aesthetically. I have a rack with electric guitars, an acoustic guitar and a banjo hanging on the wall. I have a mix of cheap art that looks expensive, moderately expensive art that cost what I believe to be a fortune to frame, and a friend’s graphic design piece that reminds me of him (it is a desert scene with many wells in lines and a quote from the bible that read’s “You’ll never thirst again”).

There is a signed picture of Mario Lemieux (my childhood hero), a small Native American sculpture that was my grandfather’s (a man that I try to emulate in every way) and a silhouette of a stag that my sister made out of aluminum. There are two small pictures on a shelf above my bed. One is a photo just before prom of my best friends from high school suited up and the other is of my college brus on the steps of a new building at BGSU. I’ve been told the later looks like an urban outfitters advertisement.

Your belongings will wither away eventually, if given enough time, so I have learned not to hold too tightly to my “stuff.”  But I think it’s ok to look at something and remember your grandfather’s laugh when you see it, or at a photo and remember a time when a friend visited you in the hospital.  I gave my sister a little ceramic sculpture after she had brain surgery.  It is a big frog with his arms around a little frog. I know it’s pretty stupid, but that damn 3 inch painted sculpture makes me weepy every time I see it, or if I even think about it. Like right now for instance.

I do like that almost all of my stuff fit into two cars when moving. I know that probably won’t be the case as I move forward in life and get married and have kids, but it is a nice feeling to live minimally. I also know there are people who would look at my life and say it is the opposite of minimal; people who live in tents and huts, some by choice and others not.

So what’s the point?

 I have seen both ends of the spectrum. I have seen hoarders who cannot let go of even the smallest knick knacks and trinkets. Whose houses get filled and cluttered to the point they can no longer get to their bathroom or kitchen. And I have seen people who “purge” their houses every few months, only to buy the same things a year later.

The point is this: you cannot let your stuff have power over you. If you lose or break something that reminded you of your dad who passed away, it does not mean you lost a piece of your father.

It means you must be creative in crafting something else that reminds you of him; like a collage or a painting. Or maybe something that takes up no room; like a poem.

The design of a room is very important to me. My parents, for a long time, designed the most beautiful kitchens and bathrooms and living rooms that I have ever seen. That is why I wanted my space to inspire me when I walked in. It is alright to have nice, quality things.

And while I want to take care of my things, I am not bound by them. I want you to think about what you would do if someone stole your stuff. Think about what would be the hardest to lose. And then think about what that says about you. Think about who you could help if you bought a guitar that was $500 cheaper (I am pointing that last one directly at myself). 

Also, listen to Jazz. It’s good for you.

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