My library card gets a voracious workout. Now that I have officially retired from a 20-year career as a professional college student, my library card is starting to rival a heavyweight champion. I am very fortunate to live in an area with a well-stocked library that also has an impeccably organized inter-library loan system to be able to get virtually any item I may desire. From books to DVDs to music CDs, I can check out pretty much all forms of media and entertainment you could possibly imagine.
The joy in this is that I am able to continuously feed my mind without my wallet getting thinner. Libraries are free. If I were to purchase everything I have recently checked out of the library instead of borrowed it, I would need to buy stock in Amazon or Barnes & Noble, as the tally for my mental stimulation is staggering.
I have gotten so much enjoyment over certain books or movies that I have checked out of the library lately that I have put some of those items on my Amazon wish list. Then, I noticed the tally on my wish list and realized I need to slow down. Way down. Just because I enjoy something does not mean I need to own it.
If you enjoy something you have read once, how likely are you to read it again? I do have some novels on my bookshelf that I will re-read continuously because I enjoy them that much. Many of my novels I do not re-read, even though I enjoyed them immensely the first time through. This is why my barometer for purchasing an items is often “if I have checked it out of the library 2-3 times, then I need to own that item.” Lately, I have caught myself putting items on my wish list after only one go-around.
Realizing what I was doing, I went through my wish list and deleted items that I have only read or watched one time. Sure, I enjoyed it the first time I read or watched it, but did I enjoy it enough that I will probably want to revisit that item multiple times? Probably not. I simply got caught up in the holiday flurry of making a wish list for items that you want-but-don’t-need.
Over the past few years, I have been working on curating the movies and novels in my house so that my collection is housing well-loved items that I will visit time and again. There is no need to have to dust, store, and take care of items you are not using or that do not bring you joy more than once.
Using my library card instead of purchasing every item on my wish list ensures that my house only contains items I truly love. It also helps to be sure that my budget stays on track and that my money is being allocated to expenses that truly need to be met and is not spent frivolously on wants. Money saved on books and DVDs on my wish list is money that can be used to fund experiences – so that I have moments with friends in which I can make memories that last a lifetime.
How does enjoying without owning increase your happiness? Do you have more time for family because you spend less time cleaning? Do you save the money you would have spent on an Amazon wish list and use it to take a vacation instead? Enjoying without owning helps to reduce the clutter in our homes and frees our time for things most important in life – memories and experiences.