The Long Game

One of the things I have come to understand in my simplicity journey is that the state of being I am in now is not likely going to be the state of being I will be in a decade from now.

Presently, I have what I want and what I need. I am content. Life is good.

A decade from now, my life will be different. I will be retired. I will most likely be living elsewhere. My children will be adults and will not need me close to them. And my interests are likely to be different than they are today.

I have written about seeking that perfect activity for me. In doing so, more things are added to my life, I become disillusioned with the activity, I stop doing it, but the items persist. That is a way our lives become cluttered. We feel guilty when we see the items for the failed activity. We feel guilty for the money wrapped up in the things for that activity. We may even feel obligated to continually pursue the activity and further beating us down as it is not the right pursuit for us.

Someone at some point highlighted that people are valuable to us in life, but they very well may only serve a role for us in a limited capacity.

Think of a teacher. I may extol a certain teacher I had, but that teacher was in my life for a year. Maybe two. The importance of that relationship to me was limited. It may have taught me life lessons (I am thinking of you, Ducky), but that relationship was merely a couple years of my life.

Likewise, activities.

When I was a boy, I spent a huge amount of time, exertions, and money on baseball cards. It was my enjoyment. But that ended in my early adulthood when I sold the collection. That activity served a purpose for me. I enjoyed it. But it is now over. I have moved on.

There are many activities that are similar. Barbecue, letterboxing, electronics, Grateful Dead tapes, Quest Scouts, etc. All these activities were fun, meaningful, and purposeful, but each was a limited experience . . . one of which I moved on from.

What I am doing today will likely be moved on from a decade from now. So, any items that I currently have for that activity may very well be gone from my life 10 years hence. In the same vein, I will bring on new items to support whatever activity I will be involved in then.

The takeaway here is that I should not beat myself up just because I pursue something new. That is natural, it seems. One involves himself in things. Toastmasters was something I was passionate about. I liked it. I immersed myself into it. Then I left. I had gotten what there was for me from that activity. It is not something I need to support ongoing. It has ended. All the stuff associated with it was excised. What remains are the memories, lessons, and emotions that are associated with the time I was into it.

Even so, I have noted that there seems to be a slight change in the activities I am currently pursuing, namely, the Hunt a Killer mysteries. I stumbled into these. And like everything I like, I sunk myself into it. These mysteries come with plenty of stuff and it is not inexpensive.

When I look at the stuff, however, I never count it among my things. That is because I look at these boxes as temporary. I solve them. I really like solving them. Then I pass them on. I have no plans to keep these things. There are others in my family who enjoy them. Once I am done with them, I know others will glean enjoyment from them too. I know that up front. It’s baked into the activity for me. It is akin, it seems to me, as to Jerry Garcia’s approach to deadheads recording Grateful Dead shows.

Well, my feelings are, the music is for the people, ya know it’s like uh…

I mean after it leaves our instruments it’s of no value to us, ya know what i mean, it’s like, ya know . . . what good is it? So it might as well be taped, my feeling is that . . . and if people enjoy taping it and enjoy having the tapes to listen to, that’s real great.

Jerry Garcia July 10, 1981 Radison Hotel St. Paul, Minnesota Room 1503 with Journalist Greg Harrington.

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