[Downsizing Zeal] Improve, Not New

As this camera roll shows, reverse-chronologically, I took my first Methylprednisolone dose, and then found I had the energy to work on three separate projects. As I was going, I was finding myself going back to my old, learned, hoarding behaviors where I was coming up with new spots for things instead of working with or reusing existing spots. As I wrote for a note to remember: “Don’t build new pathways when existing ones work.”

The projects were all good, but that’s not the point of this essay.

Its point is that once I get my health back on track for good, I need to figure out how to prevent all the clutter that’s accumulated over a lifetime in both my physicality and mentality to subside to a healthy norm. I can’t keep doing this forever. I don’t have the physical strength to acquire many new objects, nor do I feel confident there will ever be a time in my life where I could do the sort of thing I did when I moved into this apartment – spend 10 days, between 6 truckloads from 2 friends, and 12+ carloads – to move everything.

I have made some progress in downsizing since the move.

That process taught me the equivalent of a brief essay about myself and my relationship to materialism. Living for one year now without having the physical capacity to move an Intellivision set I thought about selling, for example, can be a great teacher if you look past the potentially depressive side of it. It’s a great motivator for deciding the value of an object. How much do I value that Intellivision set? I value it enough to not trash it – it has value, but not to me. I played it and had some fun with it but it’s a novelty that I can experience vicariously through others, if I ever want to experience it again, but, I don’t need to have the full physicality of it myself.

Note: That is not intended as vulgar communication toward Intellivisions.

Just as the photos above show, this is a specific example to give codifiable weight to an idea. If I wrote X, what does X mean? The band? Which band? You may have never seen, held, or played an Intellivision, but with that word and with some searching, you can approximate it, or use your own filler concept to think of a box filled with two consoles and some games that weighs heavily enough in the apartment-mansion that I cannot bring it over to a videogame store to sell, or, heavily enough in my mind that this is the example I used.

The contents of my trashcan are a good example of this. I use a paintbucket, once holding deep blue paint, as my primary trashcan. What I do is I have one larger bag, a supermarket bag, then a smaller bag inside of it. Smaller bags used for cereals, bread, or other things with minimal food substances and no reuse value are perfect for this because I can fill it up with all matter of debris until it’s full enough to throw into the dumpster. Over this year of limited mobility, I’ve learned to value trash efficiency, too, because I can’t just go throw out trash whenever I want.

Especially now, a trip down the stairs is a calculated effort.

When I fill that small bag, if I can wrap it up in another smaller bag, then it works well for bringing with me to throw out before going to my next appointment or medical-progressing event. I added in a large carrying bag for recycling not long ago, which is as trashy in stability and appearance, but it gets the job done. I’m also recycling small scraps into fast-food paperbags that I would have otherwise tried to use as trash bags but just wasted. I talk about this at length because this is something that may not be considered for either current or recovering hoarders. Sure, we throw away things, but we assign this sort of holy value to – say – an old pair of underwear.

If it gets too holey, throw it out!

I have another almost year before I would move out, at the earliest, so I have enough time to dismantle many of these smaller thoughts. Where do books go? I have a small window above my kitchen sink that had some books but also had a small display for my fiction writing stuff. That display has moved over to another area. Now all the books I want to read are stored there. It motivated me for yesterday’s 30-minute reading time to read a textbook I got in college that came up in conversation. Instead of taking years to read it because I never would never turn off the TV/laptop and just do something productive, I did it, and it was a nice experience.

I prevented myself from getting more books and putting them elsewhere.

Between the paper towel holder project and cleaning up my bathroom sink, there were many opportunities to move my spine. It still hurts. I have a headache and I felt sick most of this evening, but, it’s progress. It will take a long time, still, to dismantle much of this capitalistic seduction that’s locked me into many areas of life, and that includes the capitalistic experience of the Fear Of Missing Out. How can I play one videogame when there are millions of others out there? I gotta collect ’em all! These addictive tendencies can permeate into many areas in life, not just with physical or mental objects, and so it’s important to ask ourselves “why are we doing/thinking what we’re doing/thinking?” When the mind gets too overworked in wanting to do too many things at once, that’s when it’s best to slow down and focus on one thing – your breathing. Come up with a list of some things that are important to you.

Then do one thing at a time, focusing only on that one thing.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: There are many objects like this that weigh me down in life, and capitalist materialism is perhaps a fundamental reason why. Objects have value, sure, but they don’t have the sort of market value that far exceeds their actual value. Who cares about the market value of a piece of plastic? Is it valuable to you? If not, sell or downsize it.
Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays. Maybe Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Screenshot
Written On: 2021 April 22 [1:05am to 1:35am]
Last Edited: 2021 April 22 [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.