Taking up space

Like a lot of people in this time, I’m continuing to downsize and go through things in storage sorting things out.

I figured out last week I never use the colour laser printer I have, and therefore I don’t need it. That I’m giving away to a good home.

I’m also in and out of the garage where the boxes I have in storage. I ferret through them one by one, throwing some things out, re-organising and finding a new home for others.

The other day I came across a box I’d described as Work books. Opening it up I found a lot of the books I’d purchased over the years on subjects related to work I was interested in – project management, intranet design, SharePoint, Six Sigma, process design, productivity, and so on. There were also a bunch of ring binders. These contained loose leaf info that either came as part of a certification I’d done – Prince 2, a PM diploma, as well as various technologies I’d picked up along the way such as Greentree and SharePoint. There was a folder that contained data on all the best intranets of 2010. And so on.

I kept the books, all bar one about SharePoint 2007 – and perhaps I should get rid of the Access manual also. Everything in the binders I detached and put in a pile to throw out. At the end of it, I’d freed up another box of stuff and lightened the load.

I looked at the pile of rubbish. What does it mean? I thought. I’d hung onto a lot of it thinking it might come in handy again one day. And I was genuinely interested in a lot of that stuff. Now it was just taking up space.

It seems a bit sad, but I think it’s an acknowledgement that I won’t need these things again. It feels like a bit of a metaphor. I’ve got a lot of that stuff in my head, but it seems of no more use to me there than in the box.

It feels like the cycle of life. We grow and gather to us information and knowledge. We use that to grow more, to build upon our expertise and experience. In time there accrues to us a sense of abundance. The things you have gathered have value. Slowly, time moves on. Some of the things you knew go out of date or become obsolete. Or it’s been so long since you’ve worked with it that it’s no longer relevant. The value of what you know becomes less, notwithstanding that you have a lifetime of learning and practice behind you. There’s a natural rise, then a fall, and you let it go.

I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it. I feel very sensitive to these things now, like a spider at the corner of a web. That’s where I am, but it’s in the rubbish now. I think that’s fair enough.

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