I suppose with such a title, vocationally this would be an amazing opportunity to bring gospel/sermon/reflection/Scripture/kingdom skills to the fore. Sorry to disappoint, if that was your expectation, this time. This is a narrative about me and some of my stuff, and the inability to make rational, logical decisions.
The topic and title stems from an experience I had last year with regard to some items of personal property. I’m in what I believe (hope?) is the middle-era of my life. I’ve had a lot of things/possession come and go with little to no thought about sentimental or actual material value. I can recall an array of childhood toys and connect them with memories of play, but I don’t get very caught up in it. Heck, a number of years ago, I sold all the original, well-played-with Kenner Star Wars things I had owned as a lot. Hardly a day goes by that I pine to still have those items in my possession for any reason (although there are those days that the financial repercussions of such a move nag at me).
After a couple of relocations, it becomes readily apparent how much “stuff” we carry with us. This is not a commentary on that (maybe some other day).
The specific items around which this observation is based may not strike you as anything notable, but I suppose nostalgia and sentimentality are often a quit unique experience.
Submitted for your consideration:
Exhibit A: a fully manual 35mm film SLR camera (along with assorted lenses, filters and travel bag).
Exhibit B: a former (nearly) state-of-the-art digital synthesizer (along with travel case, stand and amplifier).
Perhaps you can already see where this is going, but nevertheless I will offer some background.
Exhibit A was purchased in anticipation of my first-ever trip abroad to Germany in early 1990. Up until then, I had grown up with a variety of cartridge-type film cameras with no adjustment other than using a flash or not. Although I had little to no experience with understanding or operating an SLR, I read, practiced and got tips from a friend’s Dad who was an amateur photographer. Over the years, I purchased accessories and that camera became a near-constant travel companion (Seattle, Montana, D.C., a 2nd trip to Germany, among others), and I was somewhat proud of the photos I had been able to produce. I have no certain idea how much I spent over the years on film, processing, and all of that. The digital (r)evolution took its toll, as did the lack of desire to lug all of that around on faster-moving family fun outings.
Exhibit B was purchased in the mid-80’s, when I thought I had some measure of talent and desire to be a musician. The cost was big, under the circumstances at that time. After a few years of organ lessons in my childhood, and translating that to the family piano, it seemed plausible, at least a little bit. I had the opportunity to make garage music with a couple of different groups of guys. We even once played a set of cover tunes as part of a public/civic holiday celebration. Tried a few other times, but nothing amounted to much. It did, however, provide me with an outlet at times, and the ability to keep up on what musicality I did manage to retain. These days, though, it sits cased up for a lack of time, desire and space.
Having moved these items (7) times in the past 20+ years, and observing their use and usefulness in serious decline, I made an attempt to excise them from the household inventory. That’s when it happened.
Contacting appropriate re-sellers on a day off, I discovered that these items that had traveled with me and provided me abundant experiences and memories were worth little-to-nothing. OUCH! A shot to the breadbasket along with a heartpunch.
Truth be told, I knew they weren’t unique, special, collectible or otherwise extraordinary items. I didn’t have any expectation that I was looking at my early retirement plan. BUT, the offered value was SO LOW (in my opinion), my emotional center kicked in and bottomed out. I’d rather hold on to my non-used stuff, than practically GIVE IT AWAY! I wasn’t prepared for them to be so value-less.
In some weird way, it just feels that those items are such a part of my personal story (about which a VERY FEW people are critically concerned), that it stings to be confronted by their lack of worth. What does that say about me, and all the time I devoted to their acquisition and use?
So, I’m stuck with my dilemma, while their respective non-values continues to diminish, if that’s possible. It just seems so odd to me that these items are the ones that have tripped me up. Why can’t I let them go? Why am I letting nostalgia and sentimentality rule? I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these things (just every time I reach into the top of the spare closet or go out to the garage, respectively). Simply revisiting the draft to complete this (yes, I know, lengthy) post has made those feelings a little more present again. Madness, I tell you!
While I wrap this up and wrestle these questions back into the shadows…leave a comment if either of these items interest you enough to want to help remove them from my life.