When I started the move-out process, I owned 171 CDs that I’d never heard before; today, 59. That 171 didn’t include 30+ I hadn’t cataloged, so let’s just say over 200. That’s obviously wasteful. I’d say I’m not passionate about listening to more than half of those 59 CDs. That said, I’m keeping them because will still listen to them all for two reasons: ownership obligation and training myself to stop buying things without using them. In other words: materialistic discipline.
Let me define what I consider materialistic discipline.
Besides “ownership obligation” and “using things you buy,” I think it’s being responsible with yourself and your possessions. If a new CD will make you happy, it’s OK to buy it, but only if you hold some sort of respect toward that object. As an interactive experience, if you never listen or even look at that CD, how was it different than legally-streaming it once? We’re beyond the need to purchase the vessel in order to experience it. I own and have seen too many autographed CDs in the dollar bin. That sort of experience of meeting the band quickly becomes passé for much the same reason as we grow disinterested in the objects we’ve acquired.
We won one trophy, now onto the next.
Certain trophies are mere technicalities. I never think about my high school diploma, since I have a bachelor’s degree, but for many that diploma is a life-changer. What we hold onto is a reflection of ourselves, both in terms of our physical ownership of things and our mental ownership of memories. I was shredding paperwork from a rough patch in my life yesterday and now those memories are forever gone. It doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, just, I’ve moved on. Perhaps I’ll still be haunted by the occasional memory screaming at me, but those memories should eventually be replaced with others, especially as I capture those screamers, and write fully about the underlying trauma causing that disturbance.
Similarly, I don’t think I’ll keep all of these CDs.
I’ll buy more at shows, on the occasional trip to any remaining CD stores, or when it’s convenient. Each acquisition, however, won’t have the luxury of the unknown or unheard. I might still want to buy my top favorite CDs, after thoroughly hearing them multiple times online, but my interests in ownership have also changed. I’m used to muting the ads on my free streaming accounts now and avoiding illegally-streamed albums isn’t as much of a hindrance in hearing music anymore. There are trillions of albums to hear, billions available online, and millions available to hear for free.
I own nearly 1,200 CDs.
Let’s assume I only listen to 25% of them on any given year.
It’s OK to bring in a few each year, if, I’m being honest with myself about what I want to keep owning. Will my CD collection eventually drop to under 500? Under 250? It’s possible. Materialistic discipline doesn’t mean culling, to me, it’s more about being responsible.
Own only what you’ll appreciate experiencing repeatedly.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: This is the final essay in this series. I wanted to conclude with this essay’s title because the phrasing has always summarized a blight upon my collection. Airing this out means I’m closer to owning that blight.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
— CD essays:
01. Albums: Move, Sell?
02. Luxury of Ownership
03. “Close Enough” Lumpings
04. Last Heard: Pre-Cataloging
05. Album Sorting Algorithms
06. Slow to Unearth
07. Declutter Then Alphabetize
08. Your Music Donations
09. Space Between Cataloging
10. Meticulously Studying Ownership
11. Packing To Perfection
12. Controlling Chaos Decisively
13. Physical versus Ephemeral
14. Trade It All?
15. Power Through It
16. My Perfect Collection
17. Digital Albums Only?
18. Own and Unheard
Above: A dedicated box containing only my owned and unheard CDs. I’ll address this box first after I move.
In-line: Screenshot of my cataloged music collection, which I would say is about as accurate as I could imagine it could be, with only a few boxes left unsorted.
|Written On: February 19th [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|