In an alternate universe…

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There are always paths not taken. Corollary to that idea, of course, is that we won’t ever know with any certainty what those paths would look like.

There are glimpses.

My childhood is littered with sets of toys like those above. Two tractors, nearly identical in every way. One pristine and barely used; the other beat to hell.

This is the archeological evidence of two brothers. One who lived and one who died too young. It is the proof of two alternate realities and I spent most of my young life looking at those unblemished, hallowed toys and wishing there was someone to run them through the mud with me.

I’ve lost my interest in collecting. Having a thing just to have it has become an absurdity to me. Things are meant to be used, worn out, fixed and, yes, even replaced if necessary. If they are not, they are only monuments to the things we have not done. The chances we have not taken. The lives we have not lived.

I intend to leave a trail of worn-out things from here on. I feel like that’s good advice for most of us.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. flatironjoe says:

    Powerful words, Jim. “You can’t take it with you” seems so cliché, but you’ve put the sentiment in a clear framework. Enjoy wearing out your things!

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  2. Couldn’t agree more about collecting versus using things. Good for you.

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  3. Goerge says:

    So sorry to hear Jim. A bit lost for words here. Those tractors are a mighty powerful picture to the story. And yes, good advice. I’ll remember that.

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  4. jaredtohlen says:

    Jim, powerful words here. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Always a trailblazer my friend. A great reminder to us all.

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  6. nbreidinger says:

    Thanks for the story and advice, Jim. Sorry to hear about your brother. Every experience in life teaches us something, even the tragedies. It’s a melancholy gladness that I have for you to be able to find something positive from your loss. Your words couldn’t have been written at a more poignant time for me, having lost a dear childhood friend to a substance abuse problem at the tender age of 30. Another dear friend lost her 2 year old grand daughter on Sunday to a tragic accident. Needless to say I’ve been reflecting on these two events quite a bit lately. Thanks for helping me look for something to make sense of it.

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