Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Collections

Once upon a time I read somewhere that people like to collect things and that they like to have complete collections. I also read somewhere that when people have collections, others add to those collections when it's time to buy the collector a gift.

I don't know if this is true for everyone, but all three statements apply to me. I love/loved to collect things - DVDs, CDs, books, chairs, dishware, shoes, purses, bed linens, stamps, coins, matchbooks, ticket stubs, sports memorabilia, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And once I started to collect something the collection had to be complete - so ALL the seasons of a particular TV show even if I stopped watching the show, ALL the films in a franchise even if I didn't like one or more of them, ALL the books by a particular author even if their earlier (or later) works weren't to my taste. The idea of having an incomplete collection was almost worse than having no collection.

Of course all these collections took up a ton of space. Space I didn't have.

Then, of course, people would visit and see these collections and make assumptions based on them. So the next time a holiday or birthday rolled around that required gift-giving, someone would add to the collection or buy something similar in the hopes that I'd start a new collection. "You like antique china? Well then you must like antique silverware. Or you like movies by Ridley Scott? Well you'll love movies by Joss Whedon." And so on.

And it's just so easy to collect when there are so many places to buy things and so many things to buy.

When I was in law school I was enamored with the history of objects even though I didn't particular like used things. But collect I did. And so those antique or vintage bone china teacups took pride of place in my cupboards. As did those solid silver spoons. And vintage fabric pillows. And vintage tables. And chairs. And cabinets. And things I had no idea what their purpose or function was, but they were vintage, they had history, so I had to have them.

I'd go to flea markets to look for affordable finds. There was a great store that opened up nearby that I'd spend hours walking through in hopes of finding something I could afford.

I collected so many cups, and dishes, and spoons, and linens, and glassware, and teapots, and mirrors that I had no space left to enjoy any of them. But still I added to the collection.

I don't like giving up on things. I think that's why it's hard for me to abandon a collection. And it's even harder for me to be happy having an incomplete collection. Thankfully, when iTunes prompts me regularly to complete my collection of songs and TV shows, I have been able to ignore it. Mostly. At least with digital collections, they're not always in my line of sight.

These days my collections are fewer. I'm trying very hard to resist my urge to collect chairs - yes, it's odd, but I just love so many of the mid-century modern chair shapes and designs - and I'm trying to keep my George Nelson clock collection from getting out of control - currently I have just four Nelson clocks, but I would not mind having a few of his more expensive clocks in my collection. (And, no, I am not obsessed with time per se, I just really think of his clocks as art pieces and I love the look of their shadows on the wall when the light hits them from different angles.)

And I still collect ticket stubs (mostly movies), which I paste haphazardly into a scrapbook with the other keepsake tidbits from my life. I'm not quite as rigorous about keeping stubs as I used to be, but I just can't seem to give up the habit after so many years.

And it would be very easy for me to discover a new thing to collect - vintage charts, Vitra miniatures (yes, I just got a newsletter about a sale on these items), Le Creuset cookware in different colors, and on and on and on.

Clearly there's something in me that still likes the idea of collecting. Perhaps it's having a never-ending list of things, or perhaps it's perpetually being in a state of want or angst or dissatisfaction.

Knowing this, and knowing what my goal is, I'm trying instead to "collect" things to do/achieve. And even if they aren't possible in the very near future, I'm hoping that the less time and money spent on collecting those other things will mean that I can do and achieve these new things sooner.

My To Do/Achieve List:

  • Crew on a 36-hour non-stop sail
  • Sail to Santa Barbara and back
  • Complete those three short stories I started
  • Write a novel
  • Crew on a sail to Hawaii
  • Figure out what I want to be when I grow up
  • Go on an adventure with my guy
  • Be more active
  • Go to Book Expo America
  • ...
To be continued...

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