During the process of packing for our move I was confronted with several major life crises involving whether or not to pack and move something from the old house to the new house.
Example: I have a box full of cooking magazines from 2005-2006. Old Gourmets, Saveurs, a couple Art of Eatings. Good stuff. I looked at the box – this was about two days before the move when basically nothing in my house was packed and we were planning to do all of the packing ourselves (slight hyperbole on the nothing there but there was basically an entire kitchen and basement and all the bedrooms and most of the den and an ‘office’/closet still to pack. I had sorted through about two bookshelves and given away about 7 books in a process that took about two weeks of agonizing soul searching. But I might re-read this copy of Slaughterhouse Five that is missing 20 pages in the middle. Maybe I should keep it.)
So i’m moving on to the real packing after doing the bookshelves and I find this box (actually a stack) of old magazines (that used to be in a box but I took them OUT of the box because my whole plan is that I’m going to flip through them and pull out the best recipes and then recycle the magazines thus taking up less storage space but not losing the wealth of amazing cooking experiences just waiting for me in the pages. And in my defense I had actually accomplished this with at least 4 issues in the four months since I took them out of the box.
Did I mention that I also have a stack of old recipes that I have pulled out of magazines for the past, hmmm, at least 10 years. The stack is probably 7 inches high. I will get a ruler when I find the box that it is packed in and report back but I think that’s about accurate. So i’m planning to tear more recipes out to add to this stack and all of the sudden I realize this is known as hoarding. What the what? I think I have probably gone through some portion of this 7 inch stack one time since it began its existence and maybe cooked something from one of the pages. Once. Other than that I cook the same four recipes from the same two books. Or occasionally I look something up online.
At that moment I decide I should definitely recycle all of the magazines in the stack. But just in case I look through the stack to see what’s there. Yum. But I really want to learn the secrets of Mexican cooking. And they don’t print Gourmet magazine anymore, how can I get rid of this vintage treasure? Ok, no, you are not keeping these. Wait, how old are these? 2005. That means I have packed and moved each of these magazines, let’s see: Lanier, Kingshill, Columbia #1, Columbia #2, don’t remember address, Spring St – 6 times and now 7. No. No way. You have a problem.
But then it hits me – I CAN BLOG ABOUT THIS. So of course I have to keep the magazines because that is the (what is the term for a physical mnemonic – like a talisman that you keep to remind you of something you don’t want to forget? I’m sure there’s a word for that). Anyway, so I decide to keep all of the magazines as a reminder that I want to blog about not getting rid of them. But to show myself that I’m definitely not attached to them anymore and really am planning to get rid of them I decide to look through the stack – again – and choose a few that I will recycle immediately. Hmm, no, no, not that one, ok here’s one with vegetables on the cover (gone). Twenty minutes later I have finally made the decision about what to do with this stack of magazines, put them back in a box, labelled the box and recycled two magazines.
If you are wondering how the rest of the move went, let me just mention that I have a whole box of glass jars that I’ve been ‘collecting’ for years because some day I really want to make jam. And maybe this is the year. Mom says you can buy new jars. Oh really Professor McNoHoard, you with the 15 years of back issues of NatGeo in your attic, can you? So not only am I moving, I’m also waging existential battles with myself about hoarding and accumulation, about over-consumption and materialism, about choices and time management and dreams and plans and making space for the new by getting rid of the old but also not being totally comfortable with the modern ethos of just ‘getting rid’ of what you don’t want so you can buy more of exactly what you do want.
So anyway, I kind of have an idea about a book that has something to do with this. My other big project ideas at the moment: rock opera, posting my YouTube video on the blog (?!?), thinking of a way to ‘blog for good’, and a couple of others that don’t sound very appealing in print but I think they could be fun so we’ll see where to next.