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Relinquishing the Preciousss.....

posted Jul 21, 2014, 6:42 PM by Christopher Ellison
I've always had a problem with holding onto things long past the point where it makes sense to do so.  I'd have trouble busting into a pack of Crayons or using up stickers even as a little kid because I was always worried about using them all up and not having them.  To this day, I can't start collecting a thing without careful consideration because I'll have to try to find all of it.  I even have this problem in RPGs; I know that if I start one, I'm going to lose endless hours of my life to completing all the sidequests and scrounging the damn game world for pointless collectible trinkets.

One of my unstated goals for this year has been to work on this aspect of my personality.  I've been forcing myself to repeat the mantra "they'll make more" for small things - like, for example, the aforementioned Crayons that I still sometimes use.  It's fine.  I'm a grown-ass adult with a job and everything.  I can buy more sticks of dyed wax whenever I want.  I started taking baby steps into holding stuff less precious a couple of years ago, actually, by buying and forcing myself to use a crappy pocket notebook from Target.  This is how crazy I was about using things up; buying and using up a $6 notebook was actually something of an achievement for me.

This year, I took another super-weird step on that pathetic journey:  I signed up for some online subscription services.  Specifically, I signed up for Bill Nye's Quarterly, Loot Crate, and Nerd Block.  Sounds like nonsense, I know, but hear me out.  I subscribed to these with the express intent of putting together gift packages for friends and family from some, perhaps most, of the contents.  The Quarterly box gets set aside for friends with young children.  Loot Crate and Nerd Block get picked apart straightaway and divided up into gift boxes for friends who would appreciate the subject material.  Now, I'm not saying I don't keep a lot of things, but I'm getting better at pulling out things I like that others would like more and putting those into their birthday and Christmas gifts.  Hey, not only am I trying to work my way out of my hording habit, I'm also making myself remember people's birthdays!

July 2014 Loot Crate Breakdown

Thus far, I've had a lot of fun with this approach.  I've been pretty lucky in that all of the subscriptions I've chosen have been, in my opinion, very good value for money.  I've been able to pull out some little gifts and hand them out to friends pretty much every box, and those items are often pretty well received since all my friends are also giant nerds.  And I'm learning to look at things and go, "You know what, I'm not gonna use this; let's get it to someone who will."  I don't claim this is the most efficient way to learn this lesson, but at least I get behavioral reinforcement in the form of kick-ass toys!