Declutter

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Ashley and I have been slowly going through our things, attempting to purge things we no longer need or just don’t want. It’s tough. What can be sold? What should be donated? What can be recycled? What should be thrown out? Much of our furniture has been accumulated since our marriage. Some pieces of furniture predate our first apartment together. A few pieces of furniture are cheap relics of college. Some of our stuff was slightly damaged during our move. Some of it has outlived its usefulness.

One of the items that I came across were a few pairs of eclipse sunglasses. I considered throwing them away, but felt terribly guilty about discarding something that was still useful. Instead, I found a NASA article that gave me a few options. I decided to ship them to the Astronomers without Borders collection. It cause me the postage to ship them, but I feel a bit better about not wasting something that could still be used by someone.

It has always been difficult for me to part with my belongings. I feel guilt for giving away things that may have been a gift to me. However, I want to simplify our lives. We still have boxes of things that have not been unpacked since our move to California. I think it’s time that those things, if possible, find new homes. I may have items that other people would be thankful to have. So I’ll donate things that still have life in them, discard or recycle those that have been too well loved.

Exhilaration

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While at work the other day, I needed to make a quick trip to the post office. I was without a car (I usually take the bus to work) and the closest post office was about a 30-40 minute walk from my office. Luckily, we have a bike program at work and one of the bikes was available. I looked at the route and realized that there were bike lanes the entire route. I grabbed a helmet and decided to give it a try.

It had been years since I had last ridden a bike. I had never ridden a bike in bike lanes along busy roads. At first, I was worried about looking like a dork with the helmet. However, I threw it on because I, as an adult, understand the necessity of safety gear (I’m very lucky that my lack of safety gear as a youth did not result in any long term injuries). The next hurdle for me to overcome was the apprehensiveness I felt riding a bike along busy streets. The first time a car drives past you doing at least 35 mph is an eerie feeling. I was able to adapt to this situation and this feeling. After a few minutes, I found something unexpected: I was enjoying myself. I could feel the wind and a smile slowly crossing my face. It was a joy to just be riding, to be doing something I haven’t done in years, something that harkens back to childhood. I would ride my bike all over my hometown as a kid, literally from one side of town to the other, and I could feel traces of that freedom, of that exhilaration.

I’m now considering the purchase of a used bike, probably off of craigslist, just something to get me back on the road, to get me into it.

Disney Planning

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Ashley and I have been planning Max’s first trip to Disney World. And by “Ashley and I have been planning”, I really mean “Ashley has been planning”. She has taken the initiative with this and it will be her first trip to Disney World as well. She accuses me of not being excited for our upcoming trip and she points to my lack of outward excitement and my lack of assistance with the planning. She is wrong; I am very excited for this trip.

I am looking forward to seeing his reaction when we tell him about our trip. I cannot wait to see his face light up as he explores the parks, to feel his excitement as we ride the rides together, and to see the inevitable smiles as we meet different characters. I have been to Disney World before, but I was so young I do not recall any of the trip, so I can only go by stories passed down to me from family about whether or not I had fun. Max is nearly four and we both feel as though he is old enough for this to be a memory for him as he ages. I only hope that it will be a positive one.

I would love to pretend I am a rare breed (we all like to believe we are unique). However, I am not really all that special. I can be fairly pessimistic during vacations (I would be very comfortable with Eeyore). I do not know if Max picks up on my pessimism yet, but I am fearful that he will start picking up on it soon. I am trying to improve, but I am scared that my sometimes sour moods will ruin our Disney trip. Maybe that is why I am not as outwardly excited as Ashley would like; I am distracted by concern and worry. If the happiest place on earth cannot break me from sour moods, what can?

Me, at the end of my summary to Max on why we have Martin Luther King Jr day off from work and school: “Martin Luther King Jr wanted to ensure that everyone is treated equally and we take this day to remember what he did and what is still left to do. We should always treat people fair and with respect. Do you think you can treat all of your friends with kindness and respect?”

Max: “Yeah and I like to stomp my feet.”

Good talk.