Minimalist game — the April edition

Remember when I said I was done with minimalist games? Well, I lied. Because I greatly enjoyed getting rid of so much stuff, I decided to keep going in April. But because the end of the month in January was so time consuming (getting rid of 31 items in 1 day), I decided to simply get rid of one item a day for each day of the month. If this goes well, I might even do it for the rest of the year!

Here’s the list for last month:

1) Small sticker book
2) Pacifier holder
3) Old magazine
4) Vat of Play-doh
5) Son’s ripped jeans
6) Broken lipstick
7) Decorative plastic zipper thingie
8) Stress ball
9) Mysterious marble
10) Shirt of an event that was 15 years ago
11) Worn and ripped t-shirt
12) Ripped pajamas
13) Tea tin
14) Magazine from September 2014
15) Ripped towel
16) Small awkward bear
17) Old ripped window screen
18) Expired vitamins
19) Magazine from October 2013
20) Unmatched sock
21) Old flowerpot
22) Overly large toy car
23) Broken decorative bottle
24) Glue stick
25) Magazine from February 2014
26) Jeans that don’t fit
27) Shirt of odd material
28) Shirt with stain
29) Bracelets I’ll never wear
30) Girl Scout sash (yes, I was a Girl Scout, but that’s a story for another time)

About a fish tank

The good news is that I only have two days left to do in my minimalist game. The bad news is that I was supposed to be done on December 31, but at this point it’s looking more like mid-February. Anyway, I am writing this particular post because I have made what I feel is some sort of breakthrough. Let me tell you a story about a fish tank.

Many years ago, before I had kids even, I wanted a fish tank. But we lived in an apartment, and were afraid it would break and go into the downstairs neighbors or something. Two years ago, we moved into a house, and one of the first things I did was get a fish tank. I set it up, and in a week or two, I had some fish! It was exciting and fun, and next to the cat and the toddler, didn’t seem to be that much work.

Around the time when I got pregnant with my second kid, I started seeing the monthly cleaning as a burden. This was mostly because I was nauseated all the time and tired and didn’t want to lift all the associated buckets of water. After I had the baby, while I was still on maternity leave, I gave the tank a major cleaning and changed the plants and planned to get a few more fish. (There were about three left at this point.)

Then I went back to work, and the stress level rose, what with only having a certain number of hours in a day to be with my family, do the housework, and sleep. I began to neglect the tank again, and it got yucky, and I just kept the light off most of the time so I didn’t have to see it. Every time I looked at the tank, I felt guilty about not cleaning it, and stressed thinking about it. Last week, and the final fish passed away, so the time had come to make a decision.

On Friday night, I thought “What would happen if I get rid of it? How would I feel?” Without hesitation, I turned off the rather loud filter, and instantly felt relief. I would never again have to feel guilty about not wanting to clean it. We would have more space in the living room. And I wouldn’t have to buy the filter parts or various fish-related items again.

I realized that my desire to hold onto it came from remembering how much I had wanted it in the past and holding onto that even after the actual desire had passed. Maybe I was even trying to recapture a bit of the younger me who wanted a fish tank in the first place. Maybe that’s a part of why it took me so long to get rid of it after I no longer wanted it, because I had to come to terms with the fact that I was no longer that person.

So Saturday morning, my four-year-old son and I emptied out the tank and dragged everything into the back yard. My original intention was to put it in the garage. My thought had been that someday, when my sons were old enough to take care of a tank and if they wanted one, I could give it to them. But who knows if they will ever want one? And if they do, I would probably want them to have an small acrylic one anyway, and not a large glass one.

Luckily a friend saw my Facebook post about getting rid of it, and wanted it, so out it went this afternoon. And yes, I’m rather glad it went to someone who will actually use it, and not sit in my garage for many years while I continue to think about it.

I am hoping that this step will give me the push to get rid of more things in my environment that are stressing me out. (No, not the kids!)