Monday, May 23, 2011

Life is Short

I finally watched the television show about the poor unfortunate  hoarders.   If you watch cable TV, you have probably seen it, or at least heard about it.  It is a show that lets us watch dysfunctional people who can’t throw anything away.
I have known people like this. I have worked in their homes, navigating goats trails through their possessions. The hope of the afflicted homeowner is that the carpenter’s repairs, alterations and additions will finally bring order to their chaos. I learned from experience that it will not. Any new space will soon fill with the physical manifestations of their aspirations.
I realize that the hoarders dilemma is not the inability to organize their possessions, it is their unwillingness manage their dreams. The accumulated stacks of newspapers that will never be read, the books never loaned, the perfectly good odds and ends for imaginary craft projects are all physical evidence that the hoarders dreams are too big.  They refuse to acknowledge one simple truth;  life is short.
I think this is what fascinated me about the show.  After the shock of the gross disorganization, (and the disbelief that a person would agree to be filmed and humiliated) I found sympathy for the hoarder. I realized the I share some of their  traits. My dream life is full of possibilities, all wonderful and valid. But there is not enough time to do it all.
So now I take the trip to the psychic dumpster on occasion to sort out what is truly important.
As Henry David Thoreau put it, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

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