What's Real Anyway?

I asked for $5 dollars and would accept $3…

OK – As you may know by now, I’m trying to get rid of my “excess” items that I’ve gathered over years of good, healthy consumerism (see “I have too much stuff…”). Today I posted a small child’s item on craigslist to get rid of a rarely used toy. I quickly received a response from a lady who said she was between jobs and didn’t have much money. She countered my asking price by offering me $3 and a few mangos (mangos are in season right now so everyone has too many here…).

About the time that I decided to reply to this lady, I received two more offers to give me the $5. I thought that it’s foolish of me not to give it to this lady who says she has little money and a young 2 1/2 year old daughter who would really love to have the learning toy.

OK, OK… I’m not worried about the $2, so I “did the right thing”… I accepted her offer of $3 + mangos and told her that I’d drive the toy to work tomorrow since it’s only a couple miles from where she lives. She’d only have to drive 2 miles to pick up the toy (rather than 12 miles). I felt good about giving something that we don’t use very often to someone who would really use and like it. Even though we already have more mangos than we can eat, I’ll share the mangos with people at work. Done. Right? Nope.

About an hour or two later, I get another note from the lady. This note says that she checked her purse and has no cash at all. She also asked if I could drop the toy off at her house and she’d give me 10 mangos (in lieu of the cash). At this point, I have now received 2 more offers to purchase (and presumably pick up) the toy. I’m torn… Am I supposed to turn down 4 good offers so I can drive to this lady’s house and give her the toy for some mangos?

OK. OK. I think I know what I should do… but…

Here’s the thing – If she didn’t have any money, why was she looking in the “for sale” section of craigslist? It seems like she should only look in the “free” section, doesn’t it? Also – Instead of her coming by my office, I’m now supposed to go to her home? That’s not the way it normally works. Usually people come get the items they want.

I can here you right now… You’re thinking this poor woman has children, no job, no car, no money, etc… What’s the big deal about asking me to drive the toy on over there and just drop it off and leave, right?

Well – my answer to that is…. “nothing”. Tomorrow I’m going to drop off the toy for free. I’ll only take the mangos if she insists. I do feel like it’s possible that she’s a better haggler than I. Perhaps she’s done this to several “kind” people on craigslist? In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m trying to “de-clutter” my home. She’s helping me to just that.

So there you have it. You now know what I did (or will do).

I’m curious – What would you do?



PS: I’m really getting rid of stuff. Check out my Progress Report!

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I have way too much “stuff” – Too many things…

OK – How do you know if you have too much stuff? Is it when you can only put one car in your two car garage? Perhaps that’s only if you’re lucky enough to have a two car garage! What about when you have a 3 bedroom house and one bedroom is dedicated to stuff! Is that too much? OK – You’re lucky to have 3 bedrooms instead of only one or two (or none!).

Bottom line – I’m parting with “stuff”. I have way too much. Perhaps one day I could use one of everything that I have, but I can honestly say that I don’t use 90% of things that I do have!

I recently read a blog posting that said something about living on 100 things. Shazam! I have 100 things in some of my drawers! You won’t catch me trying to live with only 100 possessions, but you are witness to my desire to reduce the number of “things” in my life.

Right now, I probably have 200 – 300 things on my desk. Pens, CDs, stapler, printers, monitor, keyboard, speakers, etc… It’s pretty out of control. That’s just the important things! What about my spare keys drawer? What about my rubber bands drawer? What about my sock drawer? The lights in my home… The paper clip jar, etc… For sure it goes on and on and on…

I have way too much. I have children’s belongings that they no longer use. I have flying paraphernalia that I no longer use. It’s all here and should be “there”.

OK – In addition to trying to make some more physical space in my life, I’m also advocating reuse. If things aren’t being used by me, I should pass things along to those who might use them. It minimizes my “foot print” on the earth by distributing the overall impact of my consumption.

Sorry if it sounds complicated. It is, but it isn’t. I have too much stuff and I’m getting rid of much of it! My intention is to have a report of some type that displays what I get rid of and how it benefited others.

Do you have too much stuff?

Click here to see my progress: Progress Report



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From now on…

From now on, the category of “From now on…” is meant to be for topics that might be included in things that I’d like to do (or see) from now on.

The challenge
The real challenge of “From now on” is that “now” is a relative point in time that changes every time it’s contemplated. I’ve said from now on I want to be a better person by not drinking coffee. I quit. A year or two later, I decide that drinking coffee in moderation is not so bad, so “from now on”, drinking coffee in moderation is OK.

The good new is…
The good news is, living means changing. I believe that living without changing is better designated as “existing”. Perhaps you’ve seen the bumper sticker while you were driving along the highway that states: “If you can’t change your mind, how do you know you have one?” (or something like that) I think this bumpa sticka comes from a political perspective, but it rings true without agenda.

Being consistent
I’m not arguing on behalf of the waffler who’s always picking the most popular side of the fence to hang their hat. I’m merely suggesting that living life to any degree requires change. Change is often unwelcome, but happens nonetheless.

To some, it may say like a matter of convenience that I’ve decided that coffee was not for me and then later decided it was for me (btw – I decided again that it wasn’t for me last February ;-) ) , but changing your mind is part of experiencing life. When you were 5 you probably thought that you could live off of cotton candy. When you were 16, you might have thought that you could have lived in a car! When you were 25, you probably thought that life insurance was pretty unnecessary. When you were 35, you probably thought that you’d have plenty of money for your retirement years… etc… Are you picking up what I’m putting down? We live. We learn. We grow. We change our minds… but from now on…

So, from now on…
From now on, I’m going to be more physically active. I’ve been active here and there throughout my life. I sometimes played sports when I was a child. I’ve sometimes ran and lifted weights as an adult. I now recognize that physical activity is a most important part of our physical and mental well being.

Activity starts today!

Today I ran a 5K run for The Will Smith Foundation here on Maui.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do from now on?

Progress reports on your “From now on…” are welcome!



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Driving to work isn’t so bad…

This morning, I was driving to work and my “little” brother calls me to ask what I was doing.  I replied “Driving to work”.  He laughed and said “What?”.  It wasn’t that he didn’t hear what I had said.  He wanted me to hear it.  Not seeing his point, I said once again “Driving to work”.

When I realized that he was saying, I also realized that driving to work isn’t so bad.  What was bad however, was driving to a job that doesn’t get me excited.  Just because a job pays the bills doesn’t imply that the job is exciting or makes me happy.

So – Today I realized that driving to work isn’t so bad.  While I’d love to eliminate the need to commute > 2 hours each day, the drive is not as bad as the destination!  I could see driving twice as far to arrive where I’m “supposed to be” each day…  Now – Where am I supposed to be?

Hmmm.  Perhaps I’ll see tomorrow’s commute through a different lens…?  :-)



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