Reducing my possessions had to start somewhere, so I started with shirts: fifty-three shirts. As I tried to decide which ones to give away, I banged my head against my first obstacle: emotional attachments.
The Carvin Custom Shop t-shirt is perhaps twenty years old. I had ordered a custom guitar (pictured below) and wanted to see the factory. So, on a trip to LA, I drove to the Carvin Factory Store near San Diego. I never actually saw the factory. The safety police had closed the factory tours down. I bought the t-shirt at the gift shop anyway.
I bought the Black Hammock t-shirt on a business trip to Florida some ten years ago. The weather was hot, and the food was good. I took a tour of the wetlands, hoping to see gators like Lake Placid. I recall a few small fry and lots and lots of birds. Again, I bought the t-shirt.
However, the more I interact with these garments, the less emotional attachment I feel toward them. After all, giving these shirts away doesn’t mean losing the memories. I’m only giving up fading fabric souvenirs. The experiences and memories are mine to keep forever. They will long outlast the t-shirts. Besides, I can remember my past without t-shirts! Whenever I’m thankful for my life’s journey, I spiritually re-experience past joys as I live fully in the present.
So, the t-shirts I’m giving away; the guitar I’m keeping (duh!) – and not just because it was a lot more expensive. Guitars belong to a different species of possession. Yes, like my t-shirts, my guitar reminds me of past experiences. But, unlike my t-shirts, my guitar also creates new experiences in the present and promises more in the future.
Perhaps only such possessions are worth keeping? If a possession reminds us of past joys, gives us new pleasures today, and promises more happiness in the future, then it’s worth keeping.
Fifty-one shirts remain.