Last week, we went out to the local mall for lunch and found that Christmas, just moments after Halloween had ended, had come. The tinsel and trees and ornaments were everywhere, as were the Sale signs. Suddenly we were immersed in, and all we wanted was a visit to the salad bar.
Happily, we were able to blunt the effect of that trauma by going about our business and reminding ourselves that we still have months to go before the big day. The day that our house feels the strain of our consumerism. Perhaps as a reaction to this feeling of impending shopping, we found ourselves in our basement, looking through boxes and bags full of the things that we had acquired over the past decade, wondering why we still had all these boxes and bags full of things that we had acquired over the past decade. I turned my attention to the boxes. Not the ones that were full, but the ones that we had emptied, but held onto because you never know when you might need a box for a printer, or a Lego set, or a kitchen appliance that none of us could remember buying in the first place.
With the help of my son, we filled our recycling bin with cardboard that was folded and crushed into a fraction of the space that it had been taking up in our basement. My wife sorted and stuffed and put things back on shelves full of the possessions that we rarely think about and see even less. We made piles of things to give away, and things to be given a new life elsewhere. We made some hard choices about what we still wanted and what we still needed. When we were done, our house breathed a sigh of relief, as did we.
Then we went to check the mailbox, where we found a Target toy catalog waiting for us. The circle of life continues.