Monday, September 10, 2007

Packing, moving, possessions, materialism

I changed my desktop picture to one of Veliko Tarnovo. My apologies if it is one of yours, as I took it from Google Images. (Given that there isn't enough of interest here to have any readers, the "you" is probably just some sort of cyberghost. Once I have my plane ticket in hand, I'll be actively doing the reader search. For now, I'm just getting my thoughts about Bulgaria flowing.) It's beautiful, isn't it? I imagine it is no matter what season. Although I'm glad I'm going during the low tourist season, I still can't help but feel like I'm going to miss out on all that green, like the essence of the life of the city hangs on those verdant summer boughs. I'm sure the leaves change color and are beautiful and all, but I know they are nothing like what we have here in the States. I remember my host family in Luxembourg talking about how Europeans vacationed in America in October to see the "Indian Summer." While the trees are gorgeous, they still make me sad in that they signal the end of summer. They're like the grand finale of a fireworks show, you know?

Going over at this time of year is pretty tough in terms of packing. Although my plans right now are to leave before Christmas, if the opportunity arises for me to stay, I will. It's a pain to pack all of those thick sweaters and coats and hats and gloves and scarves and boots, especially when you don't know if you will need them or not. I remember when I lived in Luxembourg, I ended up leaving behind the clothes I wore because I was sick of the same thing, so I guess I should bring things that are worn and almost ready to be thrown away. I don't mind wearing the same clothes over and over again - I do it here, too. I don't have many clothes in comparison to the average American, but my god do I still have a ton in comparison to many parts of the world. I have a lot of t-shirts. I suppose I wouldn't have much of anything if I didn't have those t-shirts, which I've collected from various places, concerts, and sporting events. I have this weird thing where I don't actually wear them except on rare occasions, so they never wear out. Well, that part of me is done. While I still won't give them away, at least I am wearing them now.

And shoes! My god do I have a lot of shoes, and many are redundant. Take my three pairs of Nike hiking boots, for example. Who needs three pairs of hiking boots? Apparently, I thought I did. Fortunately, I've finally worn one pair out, though I am still hesitant about throwing them away on account of their comfort. My feet getting wet after stepping in puddles should be enough to make me part with them, but noooo, they are still in my closet. And my indoor soccer shoes from high school, the ones I bought after overcharging my indoor soccer team in its team fees so I could purchase them? Falling apart but still in the closet. When I bought new running shoes because the old ones had worn out and my knees were starting to ache, did I bother throwing those old ones out? No. Why? Because they didn't LOOK worn out and I could still wear them around town. Except I don't wear running shoes around town.

Boy, when I get home tonight, I really need to put these things in a trash bag and get rid of them before I change my mind. It's tough letting go of your material life, isn't it? Our whole society is structured on the excessive consumption of needless things. I was looking around my room last night wondering what I could get rid of, and I'm having a tough time putting anything into the garbage pile. Most of what I own are books and baseball memorabilia. The baseball stuff has to stay - it is going in my sports baseball bar in Cincinnati when I finally get the capital to open it. Who knows when that will be? The books are tough to depart with, and I really don't know why. It's like I need something around to remind people that I have a brain or something. Very few of them have any sentimental value, so I really have no reason to hang onto most of them. I hate the concept of buying books while our libraries rot away. People buy books, read them once, then put them on a shelf, never again opening them. Some people even buy them and never read them. I have a couple of those.

I keep going over my belongings in my mind, saying "No! I can't get rid of that!" Problem is I'm a sentimental person. I can't get rid of gifts people give me, and I have a tough time getting rid of anything my mother gives me, so I hang onto it all. I thought I did a great job in the spring of getting rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff, but there's soooo much more to get rid of. Why are we like this? Why do we feel the need to have so much junk that the storage rental industry makes billions of dollars a year just so people have more space to store stuff they don't need? Why is the world revolving around cheap plastic junk?

Only three more days until I can buy my plane ticket. That's not a material possession - it's a spiritual necessity.


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