Outgrowing the uselessness

Today, Kerrie pulled a whet stone out of our silverware drawer.

The wet stone – a two-gritted stone used for sharpening expensive knives – has sat in the silverware drawer for several years, cluttering up the forks and spoons, taking room away from the corkscrew and Guinness spoon. I was purchased by Kerrie in Minneapolis as a special gift to herself, meant to accompany her recently purchased Global chef’s knife and complete the cookery pair.

Jokingly, I asked her if it had even been taken out of the box. “Sure,” she said, sliding the wet stone out. Of course, she was right – sort of. The stone had come out of the box several times, but it certainly hadn’t been used: it was still covered in the plastic it was shipped in.

This isn’t a solitary event for our family. I have a bike attachment that turns my common bicycle into an exercise bike. I used it for two months until summer rendered it useless. It hasn’t been out of the closet since.

I have books that I have really wanted to read at one point, yet I now can’t bring myself to open them. Foods we wanted to try. CDs I listened to once. You know the drill – you have some of these things in your home.

It struck me that sometimes we collect things based on the exact moment in time that said things become available. Our likes and dislikes, and therefore our attentions, wax and wane from one item to the next, like children set loose in a toy store with a twenty dollar bill. We’re totally in love with Micro Machines, but we’re driven elsewhere by our friend’s new GI Joe.

In a week, the GI Joe will be out of our mind.

This has nothing to do with commercialism or consumerism or the buy buy buy culture. That’s not what I’m so intrigued by. I’m intrigued by the idea that our hobbies and passions rise and fall like songs on a pop chart, gaining and losing airplay throughout our lives. Some things hit a peak and then barrel off, never to be seen again. Others stay steady, sometimes rising into the top ten, sometimes dropping nearly out of site, but always staying on the charts.

With so many things competing for our time, it’s no wonder we lose track of the things we’d really rather be doing. The real solution? That’s easy, and just as improbable: do what you want to do. And forget about everything that isn’t necessary.

All of those things you thought you’d love, but found yourself without the time to love them? Give them another chance. You might find yourself much happier.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 14th, 2008