A goodly chunk of garage sale stuff is soft, cuddly and covered in plush. I’ve been collecting bears most of my life. I’m not a super serious collector, but enough of one to have accumulated quite a few. (Other types of critters have been acquired as well – gifts mostly, but I’m not technically collecting them.) One of the results of this “purge mode” has been the almost feverish desire to end up in a minimalist space – a few sticks of furniture, a few pieces of clothing and food…period. (I know that’s not reasonable…but it would be…tidy.)
So I decided that at fifty-nine I have outgrown stuffed animals…mostly. And I also decided that a lot of the bears (and bunnies and kitties) would have to go.
My oldest bear, Theodore, is almost 54 years old. He’s a panda, but is now black and gray instead of black and white; he’s missing a nose and a little pink tongue, and his “growl box” no longer functions. He went with me to every slumber party and every week at camp, and spent several years with me at BYU. I love him a lot and would never give him up (even if someone wanted him – which is doubtful).
My next-oldest bear is Mocha. I got him when I was working at Zions Bank in Salt Lake City. They had a promotion – Save a Little Money, Get a Little Honey (Bear). I’ve had Mocha for 33 years.
I tried to justify my actions to him – if I kept him, he would just continue sitting on a shelf, collecting dust. Wouldn’t it be better to be played with and loved by a child, who would cherish him?? (And then, of course, I immediately thought: Or torn to pieces by a puppy, neglected by a spoiled kid, experimented on by a sadistic teenager... (yeah, I saw Toy Story!!))
I tried telling all the bears and bunnies and kitties about the cherished-by-a-child thing as they lay smooshed together in a bin, instead of sitting in honor on a shelf. I don’t know if they believed me or not.
In Iron Man 2 (yes I finally saw it – twice), the villain says (in a thick Russian accent): “You shouldn’t get so attached to things…you should learn to let go.” And it seems accurate to say that I don’t own stuff…the stuff owns me. And right now, a lot of my stuff is a burden. I can’t just throw everything out…but perhaps I can try to find new homes for some of my stuff. (And let someone else be owned by it.)
The only thing is…my other stuffed animals are already missing their friends. And while you may think the shelves look nice, to me they look…empty.
And, as silly as it sounds, I feel guilty.