A drawerful of wisdom

We used to move every 2 or 3 years, filling a dumpster of outgrown toys with every new address, but we’ve been in this house for 10. Now that there’s no “we” and no (immediate) new address, I’ve got a conundrum: what do I do with all this stuff?

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One dumpster full left in March. Whew. All of those old skis that were beyond tuning, the basketball net that only the squirrels played with anymore. Today I was swarmed at the town dump’s “swap area” when I showed up with a decent kid’s bike, a soccer backstop, a NordicTrak ski machine, backyard badminton set, etc. etc. But there’s more: I’m hanging onto a silly number of bikes, thinking that old Trek could be my cyclocross secret weapon if I had the headset and front forks replaced.. and I’ll need my road bike, old as it is, for winter riding near my next home because they don’t get much snow down there.. and my Giant, well, that relationship just can’t be reduced to mere words..

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And upstairs there’s a drawer full of race shirts. I never wear them. This whole rethinking of “stuff” has spilled over into rethinking activities too. I’m over 40. Ok, I’m really over 45 but I don’t feel like it. I’m not an elite runner or rider or anything. Can I quit spending hundreds of dollars on competitions that don’t mean anything, and only serve to fatten somebody else’s wallet? As much as I love to get out and participate, forking over $75 or $100 per race gets silly when it’s not going to a charity, just the guy in the golf cart who’s yelling into a megaphone about staying in the right lane when I’m trying to focus and get into the zone.

After publishing this, I found my 1986 Run of the Charles race shirt stashed away .. should I keep it?

When we ran the Ragnar 100-mile relay race on Cape Cod last spring, I enjoyed the camaraderie of our team in the SUV, talking about running in the dark, sharing Powerade and passing around the sprinter’s stick for sore muscles. Yet when we stopped at exchange points only to find no porta-johns and no water to resupply the big jug in the truck, we began to realize that somebody was making big bucks off all these participants (think 100 teams x 12 people each x $100 per person) and providing damn little in return. I started to wonder if I’d been a little foolish spending my hard-earned cash this way. Better I should be the organizer than the runner?

So I’m planning to travel a little lighter in the future: fewer costly obligations that really just result in crankiness about not performing well. Less stuff, more fun. At least that’s the plan.

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The money I save will come in handy to compensate for the reduced gas mileage..

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