Not wanting

A Pueblo chief told Carl Jung, “The whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We think they are mad.”

I am tired of wanting. Wanting things, objects. Wanting something I don’t have, a relationship or an experience or a measure of success.

The only thing I want is to not want, to be where I am right now. And from there, go forward into what matters most.

I’ll be honest, I came into this feeling acutely after reading “The Last American Man,” a biography of Eustace Conway, a man who eschews normal life to make his own way in the mountains of South Carolina. He talks about how people spend all their money buying shit instead of really living, and we really don’t need that much stuff.

That hit me in a shame spot.

Last night, I filled two garbage bags and made a stack of clothes, books, two pairs of shoes and other objects to donate. I’m going to slowly and ruthlessly go through my apartment, paring down what I really don’t need, what I’m holding onto for whatever silly reason.

See, I get a little sentimental about objects. I see a T-shirt and it reminds me of a special event, or it was a gift someone gave me and I feel bad getting rid of it. But tossing the thing doesn’t mean the event was any less special, or that I don’t care about the person who gave it to me. Making myself feel that is a different story.

Seasons pass, life changes, objects no longer serve us. Indeed, they may only weigh us down. We can give them what time they need, and then pass them along when that time is ended. I am never going to be a minimalist with 100 possessions, and I don’t need to be. But I can take care with what I own and what I purchase, and also make a commitment to getting rid of things as I buy anew.

Because, guys, I feel weighed down, even a little suffocated. My life needs room to expand, and so my apartment needs room to expand. It feels much better when it’s tidy and uncluttered.

And I don’t want to worry about where to put things and what things I need. I am making a commitment to myself to save for a trip to New Zealand. I don’t yet know when I’ll do this, but I don’t want to wait for years and years.

I can do what Conway suggests, to reconsider and refuse before I reduce, reuse and recycle. Do I really NEED this?

You know, I do need a few things: Books, notebooks, running shoes, tea, creativity, unforgettable experiences. I want a few things: running clothes that fit well, just enough gear to do what I love, cute winter hats, scarves, books, boots. But I don’t need too many extras of these items. 

But peace, tranquility, adventure and experiences? I have unlimited room for those.


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