The Inherent Contract of “Stuff”

I’ve been pondering lately, how exactly I’ve come to end up with so much “STUFF“. Some of it is accumulated, from single or time-specific multi-purpose use, such as tax software, which is released on an annual cycle, with a new copy that must be purchased every year. In cases such as that, or a specialty tool needed for a few DIY projects around the house, it’s easy to hold on to them “… just in case I …” quite like I just recently did with my TurboTax media.

Don’t judge! I do think this fits an exceptional circumstance in the event I end up needing to reopen the files for those specific tax years because the saved PDF copies of the returns are not sufficient. I will likely, eventually, copy the files from the media onto a smaller, more compact and durable media, such as an external hard drive, thumb drive, or some other form of technology we cannot yet fathom (but I’m thinking I’ll do it sooner than that) – because bits are lightweight and take next to no space while still remaining usable, unlike physical goods compressed to take next to no space.

However, as I think of other instances, such as acquiring something through purchase, donation, giveaway, etc., something else is in play. The best I can describe it is a type of agreement-of-use contract with your future self, to where your present self is having a conversation with a projection of how your current self thinks your future self will respond – which is naturally, quite favorably!

“Ok future me, I’ll buy this whizzamadoodle now, because it’s a really good price. But, you’ve make sure to use it soon enough to jimmyjo the fliggerflarn, so it’s worthwhile and not a waste. Cool? Sure? Pinkie swear? Sweet!

After some time, there is the guilt experienced upon seeing, or more likely rediscovering by unearthing or uncovering, the object in question. This guilt is associated with any number of causes, such as not having completed (or even started) the project yet. Or possibly because the money, which may or may not have been truly available at the time, was spent when it was because it was “too good to pass up”. For free objects, the guilt may be tied to not having made use of something given to us, whereas had it been given to someone else, they could have made full use of it in the time it was inert in our possession.

It’s important to note, or notice, that undeterred or unchanged, this is a continuously repeating cycle, and not a one time sense of guilt. That’s why they call them “guilt trips”. Because they’re not brief excursions to the nearest convenience store, they are instead long lived road trips with only a few possible destinations, but you’re never sure which it will be at the time of the ride. You can only hope and wish it’s the one you planned when the “you” of the time made the contract with some other future self than the one you represent today. Unfortunately, hoping and wishing, while linguistically verbs, which indicate action, aren’t really taking action. Either you’re the driver of your life, or you’re being driven – by other people or your stuff.

The old adage goes “A place for everything, and everything in its place“. Perhaps a corollary should be “A time for everything, and everything in its time for its time“.