Parting with material things

November 6, 2020 by Joshua
in Freedom

I was asked about getting rid of things to free one’s life. I own way too many things, but fewer than I used to—a lot fewer, so I think I can talk about it.

I don’t think I shared here my experience with my marathon medals. I kept them after many rounds of getting rid of books, clothes, etc.

Eventually I realized I was ready to get rid of them so I did. I didn’t run the marathon to win. On the contrary, I came in ten-thousandth place or so. The experience was its own reward, not some piece of medal.

Despite this bold talk, not long after I got rid of my medals, I realized I shouldn’t have. I regretted my action.

But it didn’t end there. Getting rid of them taught me that only by crossing my limits could I learn where they were. I came to value learning my limits more than I regretted losing the medals.

But it didn’t end there. Over time I realized I didn’t need the medals, nor did I miss them. My mistake was accepting them in the first place. I’m glad to have parted with them and, as always happens, I wish I had gotten rid of them earlier. I haven’t reached my boundaries. I have more to grow, more freedom to create. I’ve learned not to accept things as easily.

Take what advice you want and act on your values, but my experience suggests putting old thins back in circulation. You’ll hurt, then you’ll recover.

That said, somehow I still have two medals. I think I got them from marathons I ran after getting rid of my first medals but before I learned not to accept such things in the first place. I happen to have these pictures of them because I’m planning to post them on Craig’s List to see if anyone wants them.

On another note, I haven’t run a marathon in a long time. Maybe I should soon. On marathon time scales, soon means within a few years, not months. Still, I rowed a marathon a couple years ago and swam across the Hudson again this year.

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