Over the holidays I ran into a bit of a dilemma. I had received several books as gifts and needed a place to shelve them. If you have read some of my previous blogs you will know my obsession with stories which is part of the problem. The books pile up.
As I tried desperately to reorganize my books the thought that started this bit of deep thinking was, "I need to move out so I have more room to put books!" Now I should probably move anyway but that's a whole separate topic for another day. What struck me about this thought was the fact that plethora of other reasons I should move out seemed so unimportant compared to the fact that I needed more shelf space.
Moving from college dorms to home, and back, and home, and into apartments, and new apartments and back home has taught me to cleanse my life of unnecessary belongings. I've become quite good at it. Clothes, mementos, souvenirs hair & beauty products it doesn't matter. If I don't use it for long enough it goes. Books are different, I can't seem to get rid of them. I think it's because I grow attached to the way they make me feel. Each time I start a book I'm going on a new adventure and I get to make new friends. Of course I know they are not real but for an hour at a time it feels that way. Each book makes me think about myself, the world, and pushes my imagination to go a little bit further. How do you let go of that? How do you hold that physical representation of your adventure in your hands and say "I'm getting rid of this."? Each book holds with it a memory of the time in your life which read it so how do you say, "I don't need this anymore."?
I have this problem with books, for you it might be clothes, or coffee mugs, or ticket stubs. It doesn't matter what it is I think most people experience this feeling. So how do you know when it's time to let go? When this gets hard for me I try to turn my thoughts around and stop looking at it like I am giving something up and realize that the memory, or the adventure, or the growth that each book represents to me has become so much a part of who I am that I don't need the physical book to remember it anymore. I live it instead. If I can do this, it's not so hard to look at giving my books away as giving the gift of a new adventure to someone else. Wouldn't it be selfish to deprive them of the thing I treasure so much?