Thank the GODS for the old reliability of paper. And that I happen to have a pad and pen with me even though I hardly ever use it. I took a short bike ride this morning, ending up at my favorite writing haunt for coffee and a bagel and some words. Just as I boot up my computer, it decides to update windows, which is, coincidentally, also when I want to do something with it.
“Don’t turn off your PC,” it says (why would I?)
“This will take a while,” it says.
I need to ditch this entry level windows laptop and get myself another chromebook. They don’t take so long to update.
Anyone want a computer?
That’s what I should do when I want to get rid of something, give it to my readers. They deserve it. If family or friends want my giveaways, they should read my blog. I mean, what’s in it for me, right? I want readers.
And I don’t want to sell second hand stuff, I already have one job and my second job is writing. The difference between my two jobs is that I pay to do the second one. I pay for a domain name, I pay internet fees, and now I propose to pay my readers. Maybe it will always be like that. But what I get in return is more valuable than money: self-awareness and attention (look at me!) and the immortality of the internet.
Another reason to give stuff away: I am purging. I am on a kick to become portable by the time I retire. I started purging things yesterday. I want to be so light as to be able to move without it feeling like an inconvenience. I want to rent furnished apartments for less than my mortgage. I want to live places where we might not need a car even, and can rent one only when we need it. We could live well, if we have the money, rent nice cars, and nice apartments and eat at expensive restaurants. But we won’t be maintaining two households, or paying indefinitely for storage. This won’t be easy. There might be too many things I just can’t bear to throw away. But I’ve got years until retirement, so we’ll see. I’ve heard that this is liberating.
This isn’t new. The Swedish do it, and call it the “death purge”. After they retire, they start getting rid of stuff so that their kids won’t have to deal with it when they die. Why not prepare for death that way? After all, isn’t the crossover from this life to the next the ultimate in portability? All you can take with you is who you are. Might as well prepare yourself.
I have been thinking a lot about death lately. People we know will almost certainly outlive us. What do we want them to say about us? He lived fully while he was here? That would be good. He enjoyed life? Good. He was a responsible man. OK. He was normal. hmm.
I guess it doesn’t matter what they say. It only matters if I think it it is a reflection of what I really am. Once I’m dead, I won’t care. But I care now, if it’s true.
I want to live fully.
I was telling a co-worker that I have a brick with my name on it outside the company museum, which I bought to support the museum, but also so that after I was gone, people could see that and say, “Andy Glasser was here” (that’s what it says). She suggested that that people would say, “I knew that guy. He was kind of funny.” to which I added, “too bad that he died,” and she laughed.
Time will pass some more and I will have to face death, probably, unless I don’t see it coming. But already, to some degree, I am facing it. I am within range. If I get old enough, I will have to start thinking that I don’t have that much longer. At that point, how will I feel about leaving people behind? I don’t want them to think that I was not content to die whenever it was my time. I want them to think that I was done with this life, and it was time to leave. I want them to think that I rid myself of baggage, that life was complete. I really do think we keep going. I don’t believe in death. But I can’t be sure.
Space is infinite, why not life itself? This is what I believe in, infinity, not finity. We always existed and always will. There is no beginning and no ending and no such thing as non-existence, only infinity in all directions, forward, backwards, large and small. I know that it seems impossible to think that there was no beginning, but no more impossible than to think that there was ever nothing. What is nothing? Nothing can’t exist, by definition.
I think I might start referring to death as portability. It’s really just all about getting rid of everything you don’t need, whether you want to or not.
2 thoughts on “Preparing for Portability”
When my mother moved into the retirement home and my brother and I had to get rid of most of the stuff in her house in preparation for selling it, I vowed, upon returning to my own cluttered home, that I would not put my kids through what I had just experienced. Since then, nine years ago, I have done very little to downsize. But it has to be done. I laud your efforts. I recall a time when my husband and I could pack all our belongings into a parcel van. -sigh-
Also, it is your legacy that is what remains after you slough off this mortal coil. If you can leave a novel or two, or a blog, or a brick with your name on it, that’s your legacy. If your kids pass on your teachings to their kids, that is also a legacy. I have no idea what I’ll leave behind. Hopefully it won’t be a house full of clutter.
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I’m a hospice Social Worker by day; writer by night. Your words caught my attention because so many of my patients deal with this as they approach end of life. It is something for us all to consider. We will all have our appointed time and being “ready” is one of the best gifts we can give our children/family. Thank you for your thoughts.
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