Why I decided get rid of my stuff
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
I’ve been overwhelmed a lot lately. Something’s been tugging at me, pulling me under, causing stress in my life that I can’t identify. I haven’t been sure how to respond to my stress in the last few years. In the last few weeks I’ve heard two different speakers mention that vulnerability is important for men. Maybe it is, or maybe that’s just the new buzz word for motivational speakers. Either way, here I am. Your vulnerable dad.
Somehow it registered with me a few days ago that my life feels really heavy. I worry too much about inconsequential happenings around me. There’s too much noise in my life from social and traditional media. I’ve overburdened my life with my stuff. My collection of possessions own me. I’ve known for awhile that I wanted a “lighter” life, but the child in me couldn’t listen.
I rant about American materialism when your mom and I discuss our life. That’s what good Christians do, especially those of us who used to be liberal English major / Art minors. I wanted to be a writer. First like Kerouac. Then like Hemingway. I think that’s who your mom thought she was getting. Instead I’ve drifted farther towards the popular American dream. Messy desk. Bulging closet.
I’ve wrestled with this blog post for days, editing, deleting, adding, trying not to sound too sad or pompous.
I’m no better than anyone else living the American dream. I want a bigger house and nicer cars. At least I thought I did.
Looking back I’ve realized that I only remember experiences in my life. The stuff that was involved has faded from my memory. Things I couldn’t live without at the time.
I remember McClellan gymnasium in Chattanooga in the early 90s. Big crowds. Hugs. Tears.
I remember a long roadtrip to Memphis, then New Orleans, then Austin, then Dallas, and back with my friend Bo on $500.
I remember trips to Key West with your mom. Mangrove Mama’s, Captain Tony’s, No Name Pub. Snorkeling with eels.
Long almost endless nights on Seabrook Island with friends. The afternoon seabreeze that came with high tide everyday. Bohicket Marina. The Privateer. Charleston.
Trips to Boulder with friends, where I cried while screaming down Flagstaff mountain on my bike, I was so happy.
Our trip to Disney.
Being there for you kids birth.
Good news. Bad news.
Not the clothes I wore or the car I drove. Experiences.
Today I considered the possibility that I’m having a midlife crisis. Perhaps. But if that’s the case, I’d rather be the guy who goes minimalist and seeks life than the guy who buys a convertible sports car and a pair of Ray Bans. I’m seeking peace not comfort or validation. I’m preparing to travel light towards life rather than setting my stakes in quick sand.
So far I’ve gotten rid of 4 laundry baskets of clothing and a few odds and ends. I gave away most of it, but of the items I’ve sold I’ve earned $93. I’d love to know what I originally spent on those things now valued at $93. It makes me wonder what the true value of the things I crave now will be once I’m tired of them. I’m clearing the clutter. I’m looking for every chance to live a great life as a family. Sure, there will be some stuff along the way, but I think you kids will remember a day I took off to take you to the zoo, not the new outfits we bought you for picture day at school.
I think this is learning to be a dad and a good role model. I hope you dream of faraway shores. Not fancy things.
“The worlds still a toy, if you’ll just stay a boy. And that’s why Jimmy (insert your name here) dreams.” – Jimmy Buffett
Wednesday: Ran 4 miles in 29:59 (moderate, fast, moderate, fast)
Thursday: Swam 1000 yards (I was tired and cut my swim short this morning)