Last summer I was home in my parent’s house and decided to go through my old books and videos and papers and photographs. Unfortunately I discovered that my parents had moved all of my stuff to the boiler house, where the combination of moisture and heat had covered everything in a fat layer of destructive mould.
Most things were ruined – the mould had actually gotten inside the VHS cassettes and eaten the tape. I spent a day going through my magazine collections from 1987 and my Dep Leppard videos and my school notes before concluding that most of it had to be thrown away.
So I threw it away, and I felt a great sense of relief. I had been worrying about that old stuff in a vague way for years, and now it was gone and ceased to be a worry. Sure, I had lost a lot of books and notes and clutter from the 80s, but so what? Now I suddenly had less stuff in my life, and a whole lot less to think about.
Last week my Firefox browser decided to make my shortcuts and bookmarks vanish without a trace. Suddenly, without any warning, many years of carefully collected favourite links were no more. And after a brief panic I had the same feeling – shit, how nice! Now I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the big fat mess my favourites had become.
And now that they are gone, I can’t remember a single link that I want to go look at. It makes me wonder why I kept moving that big tangle of links around from computer to computer over the years, when I don’t even miss them?
It just goes to show – stuff is just stuff, and the best thing you can do with stuff is always to get rid of it.