I am a very ‘stuff’ intensive person.
It’s not hoarders level, no, not quite yet, everything has a place and a reason for the most part. Except the boxes of VHS tapes out in the garage I need to go through and convert some of it to digital. The rest of those are just random comedy and shit I’ve taped over the years because I have an insane need when I like something to obsessively collect ALL OF IT. But there’s some important stuff on some of them. My 6th grade school play, videos of cast performances of Rocky Horror Picture Show. You know. Blackmail material. Important stuff. Other than that, though, I’ve got like 7 boxes of VHS tapes to toss. When I get around to sorting through it all.
Tthere’s been a lot of sorting through stuff already, but it could easily be a full time job if I let it.
A terminal diagnosis gives you a different perspective on a lot of things, it goes without saying. But one of the perspective changes that’s hit me hardest, one of the most concrete OH HEY YOU ARE REALLY GOING TO BE DEAD slaps to the face is the knowledge that someday, someone is going to have to go through all of my shit and decide what’s worth keeping.
…Not a lot.
I’ve been casting a more critical eye on my belongings lately. WHY do I have that thing. WHY do I keep those papers. What is someone going to think of when they have to sort through this box of random crafty shit. Are they even going to bother? Am I REALLY going to use this notebook of blank paper with water damage on the edges? Is anyone else going to want to? Am I going to actually make something out of these little bottles or is it taking up space? Having a suddenly finite time to get shit done forces you to narrow your perspective and see your belongings with an outsider’s eye.
So I’ve been getting rid of a lot of things, but I have to be careful that it doesn’t turn into a fatalistic FUCK IT THROW EVERYTHING AWAY IT’S ALL MEANINGLESS. Just…”This is a drawing I did in 6th grade. No one is going to care about this but me. Hell, *I* barely care about this, I haven’t even looked at it in like 20 years.” So I scan it and toss it, or just toss it. “This is a skirt I’ve meant to mend, but I know damn well I’m never gonna.” Toss. “This is a stack of books I’ll never read again.” Sell. “This is a dirty plushie that has some small significance to me but has been languishing in this box for sentimental reasons for like, ten years.” Toss.
This is all stuff I should have been thinking about, all along. A critical eye that everyone should ALWAYS have when keeping things around. I’ve collected a lot of random things with no lasting importance in the grand scheme of things, and I’ve carried them around with me for a lot of years, without ever looking at them. It’s been pretty interesting, viewing my stuff as an outside observer. “Why the FUCK did she have, like, a MILLION blank notebooks?!” “What the hell is with this little jar of cat whiskers.” “Forget the cat whiskers, why does she have a glass baby bottle full of burnt out matches?!”
BECAUSE IT LOOKS AWESOME.
I have a lot of stuff I’ve been collecting for creepy décor. Probably won’t make it to BE décor now, but maybe I can find someone who would appreciate it. I’ve been making an effort to go through all of this stuff as time permits NOW . Not only so that when I die, someone else doesn’t have to, but so that when I inevitably have to sell this house and move someplace wheelchair accessible, I don’t have to deal with it THEN either. Thinking of likely adoptees for some of this stuff, and realizing with more than a bit of sadness that some of my most awesome things mean absolutely nothing to anyone else, and will be trash.
And then there’s the dozen photo albums full of stickers. It’s an awesome and an embarrassing burden.
At what point do I stop collecting things? My collection still makes me happy, and so I still want to add to it, but there’s a gut-wrenching feeling, knowing that it’s…kinda pointless and is just going to be something someone has to deal with when I am dead. Realistically? That’s true of everything, and always HAS been. Everything you own, unless you deal with it, someone else is going to have to, when you’re dead. It puts a very somber note to material possessions.
Which does not mean I’m going to throw or give everything away while I am still alive. I like my stuff. It’s just that I’m developing a keener eye towards what is actually useless, even from an entertainment perspective. I have birthday cards from when I was a kid. Am I ever going to look at them again? No. But it feels so awful to just chuck them in the recycling bin. Those are my memories. But they’re just mine, and no one else cares, and they’re taking up space and eventually they will take up someone else’s time, needlessly.
Some days I care more about that than others.
Some days I feel like giving away everything that I can while I’m alive, to know that it was accepted and appreciated by the people I wanted to have it the most. Regardless, I want to ask people to be honest with me when I ask them, “would you like this?”. I feel obligated to do my level best to sort out these things while I’m still able to, so that no one has to deal with it when I’m gone. No fights over anything, no arguing over who has to deal with it, no resentment that X person got Y thing and you only got Z. Which is a real thing that has happened in my life before with Christmas presents and it devastated me. I’ve also had to stand by and watch relatives argue over my dead grandfather’s things. It’s a really shitty situation.
And you know, there is really no delicate way to ask someone, “when I die, is there something I own that you want?”
Who gets my drawings?
Whoever gets my computer gets it sans hard drive and that’s all there is to it, sorry. My best friend has strict orders to destroy that.
Don’t think that’s not going in my advance directive.