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What Is Happening to Me?

I did something for the very first time the other day.

I saw a new book coming out in hardcover and thought, Boy, if I had a Kindle, I would totally download that one.

What is happening to me?

I work at a publishing house! I love the printed page! I love ink on paper! I love books!

And yet, for that particular book (and if you’re curious, it was Michael J. Fox’s Always Looking Up), I was interested enough in the content to want to read it, but not so interested that I wanted a hardcover that was retailing at $25.99.

And, really, it wasn’t so much the price that was stopping me. It was the thing—the hardcover book. Some days, the thought of accumulating even one more thing wears me out.

I have lots of things in my house, including stacks of books I’ve read and stacks of books I’ve yet to read. Some days, it makes me happy to be surrounded by my stacks of books. I see the ones I’ve loved (I usually get rid of the ones I don’t love so much), the ones I’ve read multiple times, the ones I’m so looking forward to read.

And some days, I just see stuff—stuff that’s piling up.

I have this love-hate relationship with other things in my house as well—my music CD collection that pretty much dates back to when CDs were invented, my DVD collection (although I did purge that a couple of weeks ago—and that felt good! To honestly admit to myself that I was never going to watch The Aviator or Season 2 of Magnum P.I. again and thus could remove them from my collection was a watershed moment for me), the pens in my kitchen junk drawer (really, how many pens does one person need?).

The physicality of my possessions is finally making me think long and hard before I add to them. That’s a good thing! And perhaps that’s why a person like myself should probably steer clear of Kindle for the time being. Kindle just puts my thing in a different format—I would still be accumulating something I’d have to deal with, even it didn’t go in a pile on my bedroom floor. If I think the stacks of books I have to read are big now, imagine what would happen if getting those books were as simple as a click of a button and my “stacks” were all tucked away nicely on a handheld device? I shudder to think.

I hope I’m on the path to breaking some pretty deeply ingrained consumer habits (as my CD collection will attest!). I hope I’m truly learning to embrace and enjoy the idea that less is more, that I don’t really need to own so much.

And I hope, someday, I’ll be responsible enough to have a Kindle (or whatever will be the e-reader of choice at that point…this may take a while).

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