As the year ends and the reflections begin I found myself hearing two very varying views on… books. And they seemed to represent different views of Life.
One person, a used book store owner, said he worried that with the technology world we live in, we were creating a world where all books would be on technology instead of hand held, paper bound hard copies of books. He wondered aloud if a challenged book could eventually be eliminated with a simple click of a button. In true Ray Bradbury fashion. He also worried about what we would pass along to the next generation...not textured books...but cold technology?
The other person is a mother of four and she said she wasn’t buying books anymore because she didn’t see any sense in holding onto something that might not ever be read, or might only be used once and then it would just take up space. They are avid library users.
Both of these views about the value of book ownership made me think about why I hold onto books, and why I hold onto so much…other stuff.
We have books in every single room of our house. My girls walk around with, and usually they each have, books in their schoolbags…free-choice, unassigned books. They bring books in the car for almost every car ride. Even Kath, who cannot read more than an easy reader, carries around Young Adult books, because to her that is what she aspires to be, a reader.
I love love love literature. I love to hold books, I love the texture of the pages and cover. I love to smell books. I love to turn pages and hear the sounds books make as you go from one breath of the story to the next. I love the way words look on paper.
Santa gave all four of my children Nooks this Christmas. Although I love ‘real’ books, I also love to READ and sometimes I can’t get to the book store fast enough and I need a quick fix…and the ease of downloading a book and voila! being able to immerse myself right into a story world…is well, kind of intoxicating. And I like to pass on that type of intoxication! Apparently so does Santa! :D
But we also bought my kids and their cousins old books, because in my world, nothing replaces a ‘real’ book. We went to the Book Barn, a local used book store, and looked for the oldest, smelliest, (not mildew, but that earthy old smell), most interesting, classic literature books and bought those books for the kids and inscribed each book with our thoughts as to why we chose those books…aside from the smell and feel. It was fun. And the kids loved it, (even the kids whose mom won’t buy any more books :) unless they are just really good at gift receiving etiquette :).
When I look at books they are a bit like a scrapbook of my life. “I read that book when I was….” “I read this book when….” I remember times, places, life events through the books I read.
Aside from books I wondered, looking around my house with my mind’s eye, why my house is filled with pictures, music, movies, … and why it’s important to me to keep it that way. We even have twine strung across the wide passageway to the playroom where we clothes-pin up assignments and art projects the girls bring home.
Why do some people save books, pictures, knickknacks, writings, DVDs, music cds, recipes, kids artwork when it obviously does clutter up the living space?
I think I am the kind of person that has memories trapped in every object I have been given, bought or gifted. My mom gave me all of her Christmas village pieces a few years before she died. I keep.
I saved up –at a time I could barely pay my rent and food- and bought the boys a big plastic play castle for the backyard. I keep.
I finally have started to give away clothes my kids wore when they were babies (they are now 26, 24, 9 and 7). Although I am keeping some- the ones I have specific memories I want to hold onto.
I walk away from buying or accepting many things I find unnecessary, especially as I get older. Do I Need, or do I Want, I find myself asking myself. My needs are becoming simpler.
I keep and want the things in my life that tell stories…the books that I grew up with and that inspire me to keep going, or that contain stories that revive my soul or motivate me to be a part of the solution. I keep the pictures of everything and anything that we have done and lived through. I keep the music that I enjoy or that gives me a peek into my past that I am okay peeking in on. I keep all my journals and writings, they show my place in this world. Evidence that I exist, my story. I’m not big on movies so they aren’t as important to me, but I do keep many movies the boys watched and now the girls enjoy. And my husband loves TV shows and movies of all sorts, he likes to relax, find the humor and find a way to unplug. All of the Things I keep tell some story. Invoke some memories or feelings.
Do the things we save…keep…give away and pass on tell something about what we treasure? About what ignites our souls?
What if we had three metaphorical boxes to put all parts of our life into? The Keep box. The Give Away box. The Pass On/Over/Through box?
Where would I put the people in my life? Who will I keep? And why? Not just because I ‘have to’ to keep them…but why? How close will I keep them, how much time will I allow them to take, how much space in my head and heart?
Where will I place my job? The house? The furniture? The after-school activities I sign up and pay for our children to be in…and away from us? The breaks/vacations? The music? The TV shows? The exercise?
There was a meme I saw on Facebook that said “There are 940 Saturdays between your child’s birth and when s/he leaves for college."
So again I ask, with a slightly different twist…
What do I keep and hold onto for 2014? What do I let go? What do I allow to pass us by? What helps our kids find their way…to find what to treasure…to learn to let go of what needs to let go…? What will help me reach my life goal of completing my book?
This seems to be what I am focusing on this year as I make my resolutions, as I re-start my jar of Things-Worth Remembering, as I begin the metaphorical road of 2014. What will I Keep? What will I Give Away? What will I Pass On? What will I Walk Away from? Can I make my life reflect what is important to my core? What ignites my soul? This year I will think of those metaphorical boxes as I wade through the year.
My top ten goals which will hopefully help me weed through to reach the core, important things I treasure:
1) Be in the moment. Put down the phone. Put Facebook and Instagram down and be in the moment.
2) Read. A lot.
3) Write. Much More.
4) Laugh. Belly laughs.
5) Find and make time to cook good meals that feed our souls and bodies.6) Treat my body better.
7) Save up money for the future I want to live…want vs need. Never again allow the debt to overtake once we are caught up this year. :)
8) Stay organized in home, school, finances.
9 9) Let go of the things I have no control over and focus on the good, the abundant and the positive.
Last but not least…
1 10) Be courageous in what I stand for and in what I want.
I plan to Keep these goals. I plan to Give Away my fear and hesitations on what I know I can do. I plan to Pass on and along the good, the motivating and the positives. I plan to Walk Away from the stagnant, shallow breathing parts of my life.
Happy New Year to you. Here’s to a good solid 2014!