I am BARRY HESS > Blog

Security of Stuff

Accumulating debt in the form of a mortgage, a couple cars, and college loans is not something I take lightly. Yet I don’t have many regrets on this front. I love living in a house versus an apartment or a duplex. Where I live requires I have at least one car. And I have never really felt buyer’s remorse on the whole education thing.

To meet the budget restrictions necessary to leave my corporate job, it was all the other trappings that had to fall by the wayside. America has become such a consumerist country (RE: current economic events) and I was as caught up in the act of collecting Stuff as anyone. I loved scouring the ‘net for DVD discounts. I was all over anything perceived as a “can’t miss” deal. The side effect was that these collections were not only costing me money, but also time.

I could not get rolling down the hill toward career change until I eliminated most of these little drains on my existence. I had to stop visiting deal-hunter websites, stop buying marginally enjoyable films the moment they were released, and stop researching the latest and greatest in alluring audio equipment. Cable television no longer made sense. Like a prolific U-boat, television sunk my time with alarming consistency.

I also had to give up time- and money-consuming hobbies. When I considered the number of hobbies I dabbled in, I realized it was just too much. Each one sapped resources in its own way. Golf, for one, was a beast of a hobby. This was easier to give up than I expected, likely due to my similarly-timed lack of improvement. I was not mastering any of these hobbies, and many I carried on with simply because it was what I had always done.

Dropping all of these little drains played a vital role in getting me to where I am. I realized I truly could enjoy hacking. Hacking became not only my career, but also my passion and hobby. And over time I started being good at it again. Motivating!

I’ll admit I may have went too far with eliminating hobbies, or at least done a poor job planning to return to them. It would have been good to not only have an exit strategy, but also a return strategy for at least a couple of the hobbies. Now I’m finding it difficult to think beyond my all-consuming hacking hobby.

Losing those collecting habits has been mostly positive. The mental drain I feel now is about getting rid of the remnants of those collections. While I am never letting go of my childhood baseball card collection, I would love to pass on a vast majority of my DVD’s, video games and computer parts.

I eliminated almost half of my clothes closet recently. It was great to be able to slide hangers across the clothes rod again. But there are tons of other bits and pieces just laying around the house. If only I could find an effective strategy to extract all of this Stuff from my possesion. Kind of sounds like a new hobby.

I much prefer my current mental issues to my former ones, though. The steps needed to improve my relationship with Stuff are clearer than ever before.