Friday, November 9, 2012
Friday Free for All
(GIF found here)
This week, I'm going to talk about the future. The future for my book collection, that is.
I had recently been deciding if moving across the country was a beneficial plan for my lack of career, as to broaden my area of searching and see if something was waiting for me in a bigger place (as Rhode Island can be really small at times). Moving anywhere, regardless of how close or far away, is a big change. It's an emotional experience because you're leaving a place you had called home for another place, which may or may not feel right. Some people move because they have to, and some move because they want to. At first, I thought I wanted to move. I live on an island with a very small community, and being away from the mainland, as we call it, is very stressful. It makes doing every day things difficult (such as doctor appointments, eating out, and simply visiting friends), which are not possible as we travel back and fourth by ferry, which in the winter become very limited to 1 or 2 ferries a day. But after discussing the facts with a few people whose opinion I value, I thought maybe I was doing it because I thought I had to, which made me pull back and rethink my options.
Moving is a big deal because you're actually MOVING yourself and all that comes with you. For me, this includes a lot of books. I even packaged most of them up in some boxes to see how much I would be bringing with me, which turns out, feels like a darn library. Books not only are expensive when you buy them, but keeping them are expensive as well. You can keep your books stacked on the floor in a room in your house, or you can get/buy a book shelf. This is more money you're investing in the collection that is books. Then you decide you want to move, and you have to get boxes and either pack in a suit case or ship them ahead of time. This costs money, and it costs a lot of money because books are so darn heavy! I didn't know shipping was so expensive until I had looked up how much a 25 lb. box costs to ship in the domestic U.S., and it's over $100 dollars! Considering I spent much more than $100 on these books themselves, it seems like a small price to keep them in my possession as I travel to my next destination in life. But what about the books you don't or can't bring with you? Do you sell them? Do you donate them? Do you gift them with a great recommendation?
Then I got myself thinking about a yard sale. Books that cost me anywhere from $5 to $30 could be sold at a yard sale for a small price, but it would save me the money to ship them, and I'd make a small profit. But I would not own those books any longer. Does reading a book you bought for $17.99 make it okay to sell it once its been read for $3 to a stranger? Sometimes it is. You have to make decisions about these possessions we've coveted for months and were finally able to get ahold of, and now you have to find a new home for them. Donate them to a library? Most libraries sell books after a certain period of shelf life, or if they have newer copies ordered. What happens to those books if no one buys them from a sale at the library? Books are expensive, but they are everywhere. It's almost easier to just hold onto books as long as possible instead of getting rid of them. Donate them to the local Salvation Army? They'll likely sit in the back of your car in a box for weeks until the day you remember you have them and finally go and drop them off. I don't know about you, but I always find myself going through them before the final drop off and thinking, "maybe I could keep this one..." or "what was I thinking?! I love this book!".
I never thought I would have this much trouble figuring out how to organize a move, let alone having to figure out what to do with my books. My books have become a part of me. They sit on my bookshelf which was a Christmas gift from my grandmother, which I assembled myself for 2 hours, which has now become a part of the books themselves as well. Unless you're a devout Christian who never looks further than The Bible, there is never just one book to readers. It's always "books," plural. One book leads to another, which leads to a whole other army of books. Books are a collection to be admired and in awe of, but they are also a hobby, as they cost money, time, and appreciation. No one buys books to read them and then just throws them away! (If you do, shame on you!).
The idea of moving after thinking about my books because too stressful, I had to put it out of my mind for the time being. And that was just from my books! What happens when I start sorting through my clothing? or my shoes? These possessions become such an integral part of us that we can't bare to be apart, and the idea of giving them away makes us feel empty and sad. This is scary for me. I am 23 years old, unemployed, and relocating for a job is top priority. But how does that factor in the actual moving part of the deal? Without a doubt, if I landed a position across the country, I would take it immediately, but at what cost does it come to my possessions? And why should we feel guilty for appreciating our possessions? Isn't in ingrained in us from a young age to keep ourselves occupied and be self sufficient? Having books is my self sufficiency. I can keep myself busy for hours with a book, and then when I've finished, there's always another and then another. We're being told to lessen our attachment to possessions we can't take with us after we're gone. But from what I understand, only your soul is what you can take with you. And what else is a soul comprised of than memories, stories, emotions, and experiences? All of which are able to come from books!
What is so wrong with holding onto what makes us happy, even for a brief time? The future of my book collection seems very bright and large, which is definitely something to look forward to. The usual staples of life including buying a house also mean having more room to store your possessions, and I know a wall to wall bookshelf is in my future, I just don't know how far along just yet.