I am both a collector and a minimalist by nature – I think we all must be. And, I understand (at least my motivations) for both.
Take my media collection as the case in point.
I like – and have always liked – watching the same favourite movies and shows over and over and over again. I enjoy the comfort of finding something new in a story I know so well. And, I love that some characters – like Loralei and Rory – feel like my friends when I need it. (My life is rather isolated, so I actually tend to need them often). So, when I liked something, I bought the DVD.
Then, when I realised I couldn’t spend that much on the same silly programmes, I started renting and burning DVDs. My favourites would be so scratched that they would skip and become irritating, but I would persist. After all, I spent that time on renting and copying those discs (not to mention the late fees I would inevitably incur).
I had folders and cases of DVDs and eventually, I would need to search for the one I was in the mood for. When we first got Netflix, I went through a process of getting rid of the DVDs.
At first, I diligently checked whether a title was available on Netflix before chucking it. Somehow, I felt it was important to know that I could still watch that show. But, it’s not as if I quickly relinquished my hold on my Gilmore Girls disks – even when I knew they were available.
Getting rid of DVDs was a slow process. Remember, these are my friends – or at least stand-ins for the friends I wish I had. At one point, I started burning movies to hard drives so that I wouldn’t have the physical clutter, but I would still have access.
Now, I don’t even own a DVD player, though I still have about six discs – movies that just aren’t available through Netflix or even as a purchase on Amazon. I feel good about those few discs and occasionally (very rarely, to be honest), I put them on my computer or we hook the Playstation up to the main TV to watch them.
I went through a similar process with my music. CDs became a need to import everything into iTunes. Now, I use Alexa to listen to fav tracks. I still have my iTunes – and even a fancy iPod mini (which is great for travelling), but I feel like I will need to weed through that as well.
And, I can’t remember the last time I felt the urge to buy a CD or DVD. But, I turn into a frantic mess when the internet goes down.
For me, it’s all about access. I don’t feel the need to accumulate, but I want ease of access. Get rid of the remaining six DVDs – that’s a real possibility. Get rid of my Roku or Firesticks – not a chance.
Access, I think, is what it’s all about for me. I’ll put in my time here in South Africa as long as I have the access to Europe.
But that’s where things get messy. I keep putting things in the way of the thing I really want (the access and ability to get to Europe – or at least out of here) because I want to have a nice life while I’m working towards the thing that I want.
It’s as if I’m busy collecting just so I can purge later. And, while that purging does feel good – it’s likely easier and faster if I would skip the collection phase. I do, after all, have a lot to get done before I can actually leave South Africa.
So, it’s time to start living deliberately again.