Can’t Take That Away From Me


torn-- in more than one sense

Urgency Day 248

500 Things Item 253: The Thorn Birds

  • History: Weepy bestseller I have loved since its debut
  • Value: Hours of heartbreak and delayed gratification
  • Parting Pain: Oh yeah, tons
  • Un-possessing: Donation

Confession: Relinquishing this one hurts.

So why am I “relinquishing it”– a euphemism for the harsher “getting rid of it”? Well, I am gratefully acknowledging the energy of my readers.

I received two interesting comments on yesterday’s post, Decidedly Athwart.

  • One was from a local friend who said he was just not ready to give up his books, records or CDs, even though having more room is a “meaningful” pursuit.
  • The other came from a local librarian, whom I do not know personally, expressing appreciation for my support of public libraries and promotion of a less cluttered life.

The librarian also reminded me that I had just reached a milestone in my 500 Things Project, and milestones deserve recognition. It’s true: I have reached The Halfway Point.

“Happy Halfway Point, Project!”

(Oh my, that’s lame. I feel like I just forgot my wedding anniversary.)

The numbers counting up the 500 Things I am getting rid of are getting bigger; the numbers counting down to the Self-Contained Unit’s departure for college are getting smaller. That’s all part of the gig, right?

Increasing one, decreasing the other: It’s built-in accounting.

(Just sometimes the implications of one of those numbers, well, suck. Sorry.)

After those two great comments, I felt as though I had to deal with my books today, my personal library. My friend is correct: I will certainly have more space when I’m done with these culling efforts, but that’s not my ultimate purpose. For me, reducing the books achieves two main objectives:

  1. I will have less weight and fewer things to move when Paul and I downsize to smaller digs;
  2. I am acknowledging that I do not have to own the books to enjoy the experience of them. This is key.

I loved The Thorn Birds. I read it at precisely that right age for this “forbidden, forever” romance to resonate deeply. And then: the miniseries came out. Oh, how I ached, how I suffered for Meggie and Ralph. And their story, gorgeously depicted, fabulously scored, remains one of the Best Things Ever on TV.

Yes, I love the book; I always will. Sooner or later, however, to get what I really want, I am going to have to start letting go of Things that are loved. We own, I own, too much stuff. We have to house it, maintain it, provide insurance for it. worry endlessly about the sump pump failing and a flood destroying it– again. Enough is enough. Enough money being spent on stuff. Enough energy being spent on stuff. Enough being controlled by my stuff.

Enough? Actually, too much.

My friend Melanie told me about a friend’s father who made a commitment to his children that, upon his death, he would provide them with a profound gift: a perfectly clean basement.

Downsizing the stuff does not diminish the life; in fact, I would say decreasing one, increases the other.

It’s just part of the gig.


One Response to “Can’t Take That Away From Me”

  1. melanie Says:

    Agreed. Less stuff, more room for life and living. Great post. Again.

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