It has turned cold in Tennessee. I was looking for a thicker pair of leggings to wear to walk my dog. After grabbing a pair I bought a couple years ago at Target, I felt my body give the equivalent of YUCK, so I put the pair back on the shelf. That’s when I stopped myself. I don’t like that pair of pants and I never have. They do not and have never fit me well. I’ve even had the thought that the awful fit of the cheaply made pants was on me, “If I lose weight they will fit just fine.” I grabbed them, went downstairs and threw them away. Feeling liberated, I pulled another pair of the same pant, different color, out of the laundry and tossed them. And I also threw away some old, ugly, worn out yoga leggings. Yet deep inside something wanted me to save the pants. I changed my thought to how disappointed I would if I had a short time to grab some clothes to get out on the road and all I grabbed were those leggings.
Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs. (Definition from the Mayo Clinic)
I am beginning to wonder about myself. I’m not fearing that the television cameras are going to pull up and start filming, but I am wondering about not only what I hoard, but also WHY I hoard.
This goes beyond the conditioning of my great grandmother and her fears of another Great Depression. This is something deeply embedded in me. I am wondering what or who conditioned me to focus more on the potential of scarcity rather than the abundance around me.
The hoarding is not limited to food and clothes, but digital items as well. Every so often I see the count of the number of photos on my phone. I scroll and find multiple versions of the same photo, screen shots of text messages, recipes I may or may not have made, quotes, pages from Kindle books, links to articles to read and ideas for yoga, physical therapy or whatever exercise. When I tackle the emotionally charged chore of cleaning out my phone or the saved posts in social media platforms, I have to talk to myself through the process. Deleting a photo does not delete the experience or the memory. Deleting a link or good idea is ok, I do not have the personal or electronic bandwidth to save all of the knowledge.
Last week I felt like I had an epiphany when I realized that enjoying items and memories is what increases their value. Now I am wondering about my internal drive to focus on and prepare for scarcity rather than enjoying the abundance that is present. I don’t know why I worry about when the other shoe will drop, but as I am only on day 25 of 40 of my Abundance Fight Club project, I’m sure the questioning will continue. Maybe I’ll have another epiphany.