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Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Collecting Things

PORVIDA - Archie Modequillo - The Freeman

I have just begun unpacking the carton boxes that fill up the living room of my new rented place. Since I transferred to a new residence about five months ago, I have not had the chance to do it. I’ve had little time now and then – but I’m the type who won’t put down a task until it’s fully done, so I chose not to start it at all until I find the opportunity to do it in one whack.

Unpacking 16 full balikbayan boxes would need a lot of time to do. It was not simply about getting things out of the boxes, but more importantly deciding where the individual items would go from the boxes. I was daunted by what the job would entail.

But if I would not start it, those things would remain in the boxes for yet another long time. And it occurred to me that if I would be okay without those things for a long time, then perhaps I didn’t need those things at all. Now, all the more I got curious to check what those things I probably didn’t need were.

And so I had to start unpacking the boxes. Amazingly, I suddenly felt a need for every item I brought out of the box. To think that I had totally forgotten that I even had these things.

These are the little things I brought home every now and then. They add up, to such volume that left almost no space for a bed in my previous place. Partly the reason why I had to move to some place bigger.

Many of the things I uncovered so far are there for reasons I could not comprehend. There’s this daily planner that runs from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2010, given to me by an insurance agent. The thick book of about a thousand pages is still in its original case.

I am not the type of person who contemplates on such distant future. I do not plan my life so far ahead. In fact, I feel quite uncomfortable to think about where I’ll be when I’m five years older than I am today.

I know that we shall all be ready for the future, because it is sure to come. But I have this tendency to get so preoccupied with issues I set my thoughts on. So I’m careful about looking so far ahead. I only concern myself with what’s to happen next week or next month or next year; I don’t bother about things that may or may not come to pass.

And yet here I am, overcrowding my life with things – more things than I have real need for. I don’t remember I ever had the intention to hoard; these things just accumulated by themselves. Come on!

Okay, I don’t intend to hoard stuff – but I do. I think everyone does. It’s probably part of human nature.

But I think it is also the human challenge to work out some sense into our day-to-day lives. Why keep things we can very well do without? Yeah, it’s so simple in thought – but not as easy to do.

Holding on to things is like planning the future – both acts are ultimately about having control. Many of us plan ahead as though our lives were going to proceed according to how we plan it. But life seldom – if it ever does – goes the way we plan it. And it’s a good thing, because it makes life exciting – its unpredictability.

No 1,000-page planner, no digital clock that shows the time down to a fraction of a second in three time zones and goes off at a precise time every morning without fail can make the course of our lives any more certain. In the same manner, the things that overcrowd our personal spaces do not guarantee to make our lives fuller. Finally, it’s all coming clear to me!

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