Going Too Far

Letting Go #18

Is it possible to go too far with this letting go stuff? Here I sit on a Thursday at 2 in the afternoon, still in my pajamas. I figure I have a right to do this, since it is my day off, but…. In some ways I have let myself go, maybe for the better, maybe not. I no longer care about the latest fashions–they just get in the way when I’m searching for books, or reveal too much when I bend down to answer a question from a library patron. Stylish duds are either too cold or too hot, or make me want to pull up, pull down or pick at them constantly. I’ve given up contact lenses because they are too much trouble, and stall on the purchase of new glasses with unlined bifocals because I don’t want to spend a fortune. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of minutia that I’m missing all around me because I can’t see (although in my house that may be a good thing). My philosophy right now is to get rid of the object rather than dust it–unless it’s breathing, of course.

And then there is my fascination with the hows and whys of material accumulation. I have become obsessed with the show Hoarders on the A&E cable network. I watch with horror in that “have to smell the milk gone bad after you told me not to” kind of way every week, as the poor wretches in ever-worsening situations try to plow a path out of the addiction there for all to see–and smell. I sympathize with the relatives who try to reason with their kin and sort through the mess while wondering if a sudden life event will set off their OCD hoarding genes. I, too, wonder if there but for the grace. . . well, you know.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’m a big fan of Dan Price, whose book Radical Simplicity describes a life spent in extreme downsizing. Yep, if downsizing was a sport, he would be one of its all-stars. During the past twenty years or so, Dan has gone from a regular house, to a rented room, a tipi, a shack, a hole in the ground, and various forms of lean-to, shanty and tent. Until finally, he found himself shivering in the wilderness in nothing but a sleeping bag. At that point, he wondered just how far he would take this minimalist vision of his. Would he wind up completely naked and living like the animals? Fortunately, he found his stopping point, and currently lives in a hobbit hole in his beloved meadow in Eastern Oregon.

I know that I am perfectly capable of taking things to the point of absurdity. Luckily, I have a very practical spouse and child, who periodically have to save me from myself. Occasionally, they must remind me to put on some clothes however unstylish, take out the trash, get real about my goal of living with only two boxes of possessions–oh, and stop smelling the bad milk.

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One thought on “Going Too Far

  1. Pingback: “Letting Go” of 2009 « Suburban Satsangs

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