[Downsizing Zeal] Away From Mediocrity

If my CD collection represents an analogy for my collections as a whole, where this morning’s blast through five mediocre CDs to get to one I’d actually like to hear more than once more might be a particularly harsh downsizing session, then I could probably easily compress my remaining valuables into new containers and either sell or donate the rest. All it took was proximity, patience, and persistence to figure out the pulp from prizes.

It starts small. Moving Zeal covered the nuances.

To summarize the writings I did there, I tackled the easiest things first. Throw away the obvious garbage. As the garbage and recycling bins fill, not only is space clearing out, but it feels better, too. Maybe you can walk around easier? Maybe you finally give yourself permission to get rid of something that only brings you negative memories- something you held onto for some reason or another that’s now lost in forgotten memories not even recalled in deep dreams.

I packed away everything I loved or thought I liked.

I wasted hours and days agonizing on how to pack boxes most efficiently. I wasted more time planning how to store them. I wasted money on storing them. I wasted time planning to retrieve them. Now that I have them all, it’s not so much that I’ve moved onto the next “fetch quest objective” as much as I’ve moved on from being excited over any little trivial object. Where once I would pick up any shiny, now it must shine with a particular luster before I can even muster the concern to bother with it.

I’m starting with CDs because it’s the easiest.

I can donate all of the excesses without any concern over profitability. Sure, that means I will have wasted potentially some money in revenue, but after calculating my daily financial burn-rate of living in the apartment-mansion, unless the task of selling objects is fruitful from a writing or financial perspective, it’d actually be a waste of time. Say I worked really hard to try to sell a box of CDs and only got one dollar. Would that one dollar be worth that time, energy, and if the interaction were just curt, even worth writing about?

One or two sales will help determine my direction.

If I’m wrong and CDs are still massively valuable, then, sure, I might sell more. Otherwise, I’ll condense this collection before moving onto my toys and action figures. There are a few places I can sell them for store credit or cash. The trick will be leaving without acquiring new collectibles. Unless the store credit margins are significantly higher, I may just go cash, sell the highest ticket items over a few trips, then consider it good.

This is all because of some key realizations.

I will not let my life be dictated any longer by my possessions. If life continues in its current positive trajectory, I can afford to move somewhere closer to work within the next year. I might stay put, depending on my schedule, apartment prices, and overall finances, but I might not, too. I don’t want my living situation to be controlled by things like these mediocre CDs. One, I listened to for two minutes and decided that while acceptable, was something I could easily be OK with never hearing again.

It’s the same as traveling to new cities or countries.

To go is to leave. You must say goodbye to something to say hello to something else. You can only stay in one hotel at a time. I mean, we can talk about excessive situations where one might burn time or money, but reasonably, you might go to a new city and only stay in one hotel room per night. When you check out, you will probably never spend another night in that same bed, in that same hotel room, and even if you do, you’ll be different. You will perceive reality in a slightly wiser way.

You may not even care about all these details.

If you don’t, then going through all these things to the neurotic level that I have, both in this essay and in all my others, might seem worthless. For those who do, these details are what prevents us from exploring the world. We get attached to the cheap blue tray holding decaf coffee for what could be a pocket coffee machine that sits atop a fake-wood dresser in a hotel room somewhere on the planet. The gaudy paint swirls representing some archaic design influenced by perspectives completely outdated might envelop us in a dreamy wonder. “Why is this ugly art still here?” You might ask yourself.

But when you own these things, they come to life.

Getting rid of that tray or painting might take us days of deliberation, especially when we’re not used to the idea of parting with anything. Is it behavior matching a spoiled child that wants everything now? Maybe. As I address my possessions from the perspective of what I’m alright with saying goodbye to and what I’d carry with me in lock boxes around the world, when I go to places where I can acquire new possessions, my wallet is nearly impenetrable.

What value would this new object bring me?

How is that value different than anything else I own? It’s easy for groceries and other consumables because the sandwich I make is cheaper, even with my time spent making it, than finding a more expensive sandwich somewhere. It has its use. Whereas now, when I look over these five CDs, their only use is a photo op with a springboard into why possessions possess our passions. If I were to make any guesses, it would be because owning things invites a certain prestige around us. We had enough money to afford these non-consumable objects.

If I can speak honestly, I’d rather live without many valuables if that meant the autonomy to live with something more valuable to me than any collectible: complete autonomy.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I’m trying to cut the ties I have to most materialistic objects so that I can focus my time on what I enjoy more. Whether it’s writing, editing, watching shows for their literacy, or even just relaxing, I am not as interested in spending a half hour or all day cataloging music data, but considering the number of years worth of time I’ve been collecting that data, I can’t just walk away from it, or donate everything I’m not excited about.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.
Photo: The sides of five CDs I’ll be getting rid of with the black plastic bag I use to carry them to my car and back in the background. Not exactly a rule of thirds shot, but close enough for an interesting shot.
Written On: June 24th [43 minutes, mobile] [This averages out to 23.3 words per minute, whereas my usual 500-word essays are closer to 21.7 words per minute.]
Last Edited: June 23rd [Minor edits; otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.