The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things

My forthcoming move South has me facing the inevitable: I have to pack-up my ‘things’.  I pride myself on being fairly conservative.  I am not a rat pack by any means. Nonetheless after nearly four decades on the planet, one tends to amass ‘things’, even if it is reasonable and legitimate in the eyes of the beholder.

Now some of you will think I’ve gone batty when I say that I am planning on halving my beloved record collection to 500 pieces.  I have been collecting for 25 years and if I have a ‘prized possession’, it’s my record collection.  But should we even have prized possessions? People are of infinite value, shouldn’t we have prized people over possessions? These are some of the internal struggles moving one’s ‘things’ evokes.

So how did I come to this decision?  Aside from the fact that I am not particularly thrilled about hauling 16 boxes of vinyl down South (1000 LP’s weighs about 600 pounds), I came up with a list of four ‘heart revealing’ questions to help determine which albums I should keep and which ones I should sell before moving:

a) Do I listen to it?  Sounds pretty basic but like any collection, sometimes we have items we aren’t enjoying regularly.

b) Is it available to listen to on Spotify?  I am caught somewhere between the vintage and digital age.  I use Spotify to listen to music in the car, the shower and in the office.  If the album is common enough or only has 1-2 songs on it I actually like, could I declutter my life by letting go of a physical copy?

c) Is it very hard to find?  This is where things get tricky because there are some albums I may not enjoy completely, but truth be told, it will be hard to find again or worse, is unavailable in a digital online streaming format.

d) Will I truly miss it?  Am I holding on to it for bragging rights or because I find identify in having it?

At the end of the day purging is never easy because it’s heart revealing.  When we purge our lives of ‘stuff’ for whatever reason we are confronted with a sobering question:

Does what you can hold in your hand hold your heart?

Reality is no one lays on their death bed troubled because they never got to play a 1st pressing of a Beatles LP. Regrets are usually centred around missed opportunities with people and relationships.  When we put things in perspective we ought to prize people over any possession, including things like a record collection.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

When all was said and done, I was successful and halved my record collection down to 500 pieces.  Here’s the proof…

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8 thoughts on “The Best Things In Life Aren’t Things

  1. Kathy

    If you couldn’t find more than 500 albums to keep, you are a shallow, pitiful human being. There is so much truly great musical art that 500 albums doeswn’t even put a dent in all the beauty you have dismissed. I pity you.

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  2. Elliot Bloom

    Beautifully written and felt. I once held a pristine 1200 LP’s from early 60’s, 70’s & some later, but a Vinyl treasure trove. 25 years ago we were moving across town, at the time my 2 young sons only enjoyed “rap”. So I just let those go with little thought. My wife suggested this was a poor judgement as she knew of my love for this cardboard and plastic things. Well, a few years ago I began this collecting again and now have enjoyed the hunt on e-bay, flea markets, antique stores and of course all the FB vinyls sites. As I read your note; it stuck me; I too on the later side of life realize I can’t take them with me; but maybe a few rarities to be held in my head. Good luck and very smart method for separation. Thank you

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  3. Scott

    I for one could never do such a thing and why the hell would I?! I have made 4 major moves over my life and my LPs and even CDs have made that move with me. Naturally each move becomes harder and larger each time but regardless, they ALWAYS make the cut. Moving a few thousand albums from Hawaii to Los Angeles is a difficult task, not to mention very expensive!! When I decided to move from LA to Brazil, this is where things got tricky. That said, never once, not for a split second, did I think of getting rid of anything though. Instead, I rented a Uhaul and moved them in boxes to my parents basement in Chicago. Now, the CDs, I could get rid of 3/4 of those as digital is digital. With the exception of the ultra rare stuff in that collection, I could live without most of them, and have. Mind you I have about 10,000 of them. The vinyl on the other hand, which I have over 5,000, not a chance I would get rid of one single LP. Now each time I visit I fill two suitcases and two carry on’ switch any extra space and am slowly migrating my collection truely south. Your choice is yours but if I know anything about collecting music you will regret it, if you don’t already. Personally, NO WAY!!!! I can honestly say I love music far above any living creatures. Yes, I do very much cherish my parents, wife and family but as you say people die, they go away but music never does. However, I am getting away from my actual point here now as I am no longer talking about material possessions but concepts of love etc. Bottom line is, Music is my life and my religion and what is a preacher of the good word without his scriptures to back him up?!

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  4. Victor

    Knowing you and knowing how awesome your record collection was/is I know this must have been a hard decision for you.

    Your heart behind it (not just logistically for the move) is exemplary.

    Proud of you man.

    Liked by 1 person

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