My wife and I are selling our house. If you know me, that's quite a big statement.
See, I crave comfort. I'm what you would call a "nester." I like my own space, I want it to be set up just how I like it, I don't like change, and I don't like being uncomfortable. Selling a house involves all of the latter and none of the former.
I crave comfort.
So why are we doing it? There are a variety of reasons, but it just makes sense on many fronts. And as we're going through the process, we're having to get rid of a lot of, how should I say it, things. Things we haven't really used in a while, things we don't really need, things that don't really serve a purpose. And as we're getting rid of those things, I'm realizing how attached I can become to the little, trivial, ad inconsequential items.
My wife would tell you that I'm somewhat of a hoarder. Not on the level of the TV show, but I don't like to throw stuff away that I think could one day be useful. Our garage has a corner dedicated to scrap wood — random 2x4s, plywood, and even old chair legs that I've convinced myself could someday come in handy. At least I'm finally to the point where I'll admit I have "hoarding tendencies."
That became really clear a couple weeks ago as we started the process of getting the house ready. That's when I found my wife getting rid of two small, red stools. These are stools she got at Target and have zero sentimental value. None. Zilch. But yet I couldn't believe she was getting rid of them.
"What are you doing?" I asked her accusingly.
"I'm getting rid of them," she said very mater-of-factly. "We don't need them."
She interrupted me: "You wouldn't have even noticed they were gone if you hadn't seen me getting them ready."
She was right. I probably sat on those stools twice in the last year. I passed them thousands of times and never even gave them a second look, but yet was having mild anxiety at the thought of them not being around anymore. And that's when I realized how easily I can attach myself to things.
Things can control me. I love gadgets; I love getting new ones and playing with them like a 10-year-old; and I love the feeling of getting something I've wanted for a long time.
I also think the desire for more — the desire to try and make ourselves whole and complete by acquiring fame, money, and a new whatever — is a lack of understanding where our true value lies and comes from.
I can't give you a deep, scientific reason why (although I'm sure it has a little something to do with my OCD). But as I started thinking more and more about it, I watched Shawn Johnson's film again. I think she has a better handle on it than I do: While I'm sure there are some brain chemistry reasons why I attach myself to things, I also think the desire for more — the desire to try and make ourselves whole and complete by acquiring fame, money, and a new whatever — is a lack of understanding where our true value lies and comes from.
I know, that's easier to say than it is to constantly remember. But the times I do remember it are when I feel OK about not getting something. The times I do remember it are or when I find myself less jealous of those around me. The times I do remember it are when I can watch my wife get rid of some old stools and not feel anxious. And that's such a better state to be in.
I guess that's one more reason why selling the house is a good thing.
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