Embarrassment of Riches

Day 216 Week 31 Q3 Saturday, August 5, 2023

Sometimes I wonder why I could possibly need more stuff, more options, or more friends. The notion that more is better seems to permeate life. I realize there are plenty of people worrying about survival, just not too many in my neighborhood.

I do not know how I succeeded in this mental addiction. After all, I managed to steer clear of pursuing more fame, more money and more power. None of them seems to create more meaning. Now I am finding there simply is not enough time to realistically deal with any more people, options or things. My plate is full, yet I still seem to gaze at the horizon, even knowing there is no chance of catching up with any of my current projects, dreams and imaginings in my remaining decades. 

I guess I could say I am addicted to growth and learning, and curiosity, but it truly does not make sense to try to pour a gallon of milk into a sixteen-ounce mug. In fact, it just makes a mess that then needs to be cleaned up. 

A similar thing can occur in conversations. If someone asks you a question and you give them ten answers, it has the same effect of overflowing your sixteen-ounce mug, just getting milk all over the table and floor and your shoes.

Have you ever received a one-sentence email and answered it with five or ten? No one reads long answers, so why do this? Because you are answering the question that should have been asked?

Do we do this in life as well? Have we accumulated more books to read, podcasts to listen to, and magazine subscriptions to consume and when entering into the digital data world, it gets even crazier?

Why the escape? Why the external pursuits? What about quiet? What about mastery? What about depending on rapport instead of scaling superficiality?

Perhaps many of us have an embarrassment of riches. Are we still accumulating and growing when we should all be downsizing? Do we need a smaller refrigerator, in a smaller kitchen in a smaller house? If you can play 100 songs poorly, do you need to add another 100 or just perfect one of them?

Why this treadmill toward more? Why this fascination with celebrities? None of this makes sense, but it is ubiquitous.

This morning I realized for the nth time that I owned some fabulous musical instruments I had almost never played. They each have a story and association with a life adventure, so I can not let go of them. So what did I do? Played some many and so much that my arms hurt.

I conclude that more is definitely not better, and prioritization is called for. Or is it a deeper issue? Do we do A to avoid B or acquire C to not master D. Can we possibly spend our entire lives changing gears, addicted to the pursuit of the new?

So on one hand, it feels like the external world is a colossal, somewhat negative mess, but on the other, the internal world is lovely and exciting but also a mess.

Just saying maybe having one hundred interests is worse than having one?