The tyranny of stuff

Almost seven years ago I moved to NY to take a job with Del Rey at Random House.  After two years I was ready for a change, and took a job with Stackpole Books located in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Barely noticed the difference… After four years in PA I really needed a change again, and my line was growing to such an extent that it made sense all around for me to move back to NY.  Doing so meant giving up a three bedroom apartment in a new building with my own washer and dryer and cramming my life into a studio on the Upper East Side, and I’ve never been happier. 

To reach this state of bliss, however, I first had to come to terms with the amount of material possessions I had accumulated.  To my horror I realized I had become a consumer.  I bought because it was on sale, or because it looked neat, or because I had the room, or because I was bored and the endorphin surge distracted me from bigger issues I didn’t want to deal with.  What really shook me was when I found myself asking ‘How can I move back to NY when I have all this stuff?’  How long had I let my life be dictated by inanimate objects?  Once I recognized what had happened I had this incredibly liberating experience of donating and selling off the majority of the things I owned.  Even books!  At first it was scary, but the more things I got rid of the more I enjoyed it.  The release of endorphins from buying pale in comparison to the feeling I got waving goodbye to furniture, clothes and knick-knacks. 

Now I live in the heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the world and feel more at home than I ever have before. I own fewer things and am richer for it…and apparently auditioning to write for a greeting card company, but you get my drift. 

  1. lanyn

    Boy, does this speak to me right now, as I’m packing for my own move from the mountains to the city. You become acutely aware of much stuff you have that you don’t use when you can box it a month ahead of time and not miss it. Note to self: none of those items are required for living.


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