I spend most f my life these days at the playground. So, you can imagine that much of my time and attention goes towards the inner workings of the playground dynamics. In my sons age group, which is between ages 2 and 3, most of the dynamics are about sharing. Sharing toys, snacks, strollers, chalk, parents attention, etc. We parents talk so much about “sharing” at the playground. We’re constantly talking about it to our kids, “No, Charlie, we’re SHARING today”. I surprise myself at how much I emphasize the act sharing with my son. And then I look at my own life. Am I sharing with everyone? What am I hoarding? What am I stingy about?
Recently, we moved out of our Brooklyn apartment and into a friends guest room. There wasn’t really space to bring much with us so I gave a lot away and sold some odds and ends. In three years I cannot believe how much I accumulated and how I prided myself on my belongings. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about having nice stuff, but what happens when we can’t share or give freely anymore? I got trapped. I guess the question I ask myself is “Why am I forcing my kid to let some little boy he doesn’t know, or even like, run around the park with his favorite truck when I can’t lend my crock pot to a friend who needs it?” Whats wrong with me? Why do I get so easily consumed with my “things”. I have plenty, but the bright lights and the TV tells me that I need more and that borrowing a drill from someone else is a drag and that I should just buy one. Whatever happened to asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar? Does anyone actually do that anymore who doesn’t live in Wabasha, Minnesota?
In two weeks time we will be packing up camp here in Brooklyn and driving across the country to live in Colorado for the winter. I’m feeling my second bout of grief right about now. You would think it would have to do with leaving this fine city, but no, it has to do with having to sell and give away more. I have some things in a friends storage unit and even though I can’t remember what is even in those 8 boxes, I feel like I’m agonizing over going through it and having to let go of my stuff.
I’m at a crossroads. Do I embark on the journey to completely give up possessions like the freegans and Daniel Suelo and live off the excess of what others throw out? Or, do I learn how to operate in this system of buying and purging? Since I have a child to consider, the second option seems less extreme and less invasive. There is something sexy about completely giving up possessions and money though. Something totally freeing. But I don’t think I can make the leap yet.
What about you? Do you struggle with your stuff? Leave me a comment, don’t keep me hanging!