The trouble with desiring less is that it is easier to have more.

A series of thoughts led me to write a list of possessions.

This is, more or less, what I possess, not counting perishables or things like paper towels.

  • Dishes, pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutting board, cooking utensils, flatware
  • Mop, bucket, broom, dust pan, vacuum, toilet bowl brush, 2 garbage cans, dish rags, towels, cleaning solvents, etc.
  • Table, desk, 4 folding chairs, 2 wooden chairs, card table, TV stand, 2 camping chairs, couch, cot, air mattress
  • 3 pillows, 2 blankets, 2 sets of bedsheets, 5 bath towels, some wash cloths
  • Toothbrush, razor, fingernail clippers
  • A lamp
  • 2 rugs
  • Christmas tree and lights
  • 2 computers, 2 monitors, speakers, router, switch, external hard drive, digital camera, cables, television
  • A full file cabinet
  • Hanging folders, manila folders, envelopes
  • Books, I’d guess about 30
  • Drum set, sticks, practice pad
  • Handgun box, spotting scope, .45 pistol, .22 pistol, .22 pistol (doesn’t work, worn out), various gun parts, rifle, rifle case, shooting chair, rain gear, targets, ammunition, muffs, cleaning kit, various other target shooting paraphernalia
  • 2 pairs of work shoes, winter boots, slippers
  • Winter coat, summer jacket, umbrella, hats, gloves, scarf
  • Clothes
  • Paper, pens, pencils
  • Dry-erase board and 4 dry-erase markers
  • Some music CDs and 3 DVDs
  • Some toys, dolls, crayons, markers, paper, books, and magazines in 2 boxes for my daughters
  • Some photos of my children
  • A car and child safety seats
  • A bicycle, bike lock, used bike tire, tire pump, and small set of bike repair tools

There are a few things that I want, though don’t need. Like a chest of drawers for my clothes, a bed, a small lamp for my bedroom so I don’t have to get up to turn off the light.

I don’t really want this stuff now, though, because they feel heavy.

I have more than I need, and more than I want. I don’t want 2 computers and 2 monitors. I don’t want 2 rugs; 1 is fine. I don’t want 2 camping chairs, though I did when I had no other chairs. I don’t want the switch (I’m using the router’s built-in). I have an extra cookie sheet. I don’t want the .22 pistol that doesn’t work. I don’t want the rifle or its accoutrements. I don’t want some of the books.


Oh, this is why I write the list.

For the first time in a long time, I read a book that I enjoyed that had nothing to do with work. (See previous post, Memories of snow.) I enjoyed reading that book, and there’s another book I want to read. I’m being very picky, I know, but I only really want to read well-written books.

The book I want to read next is by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country for Old Men which may be my favorite movie in recent memory). It’s called All the Pretty Horses—a title which really makes me want to not read it—but McCarthy seems like a great writer and the book comes highly recommended from someone whose opinion on books I value.

Alright, so you see the problem? I don’t want the book: I want to only read the book.

I’m impatient about it; my mind spins and I wish for something new to read. But all copies are checked out from all area libraries. And they have been for a week now.

Options? I could buy the book and have it soon. But then I’d have the book and would have to then get rid of the book. These days, it is important to me to not add things like books to my life.

Or, I could place a recall request at a library. But, if I had a book checked out from a library and received a note that I have to return it, I’d return the book, but I wouldn’t like having to do it. So, I’d rather not put that to someone else.

I love libraries: I can get books, read them, and bring them back! So, because I can return library books, they are not fetters. In the back of my mind, I am transient, and every extra thing has to be accounted for when I move. It’s good for my sanity to have less.

I have checked on the book every day. I will continue checking.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll find a different book to read. And get rid of the things I don’t want.

2 responses to “The trouble with desiring less is that it is easier to have more.”

  1. CApital Area District Library allows you to place a hold on books so that when it comes back in, they wil hold it for you. I’m not sure if the EL library does the same. The other option to check is MELCAT. It allows you to reserve book from library all over the state, have them shipped to youss and checked out and return under the same terms as your home library.

  2. Hans, I may end up having to do that, because the book is still checked out.

    However, I think there’s another book at the Capital Area District Library that is checked in that sounds intriguing: “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman. I may try to get it tomorrow morning.

    If I end up reading that, I’ll probably post something about it.

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