guitar

…but our minds make it hard to depart with some things.


Even before leaving work last fall, I knew I wanted to live a simpler life.

Like many, my life has bloated.

Charlie Brown recently wrote about the 134 items she owns. Heck, I have 134 items in my office. Probably more.

Charlie lives a simple life.

My goal is simpler living, for now.

I thought it would be easy to change my life once I left work. To an extent, it was.

In fact, I spent a fair bit of time decluttering, donating, selling and flat-out trashing crap I accumulated over many years. The process felt good. I was making progress, and then I ran into the guitar.

For some reason, the guitar caused me to pump the brakes.

If you’ve gone through a similar exercise, you likely ran into your own, the guitar.


Why do we have such a hard time getting rid of some things?

You hold onto things based on hope. You hope to lose weight, catch up on reading, finish that abandoned project. But when you don’t, it’s hard not to feel like a jerk about it.

June Saruwatari, author of Behind the Clutter

I bought the guitar as a birthday gift to myself five years ago. Burnt from crazy travel and long hours at work, I needed something fun to focus on.

The guitar was actually my second attempt to learn to play. A decade earlier, I purchased a guitar that sat quietly in a corner for five years. I told myself I just didn’t have time to learn to play.

This time things would be different. Before, I had tried to learn to play using a computer program. Now, I would get an instructor to improve the learning curve. Sure, I had even less time than before, but I wanted to learn to play and do something besides work all hours of the day.

Things went well with the guitar for a few months. I was learning and having fun. Then work went utterly bonkers, and I seemed to live at the airport for quite a while.

Time went by, and eventually, the chaos at work simmered some. The guitar didn’t get my attention, though.

I set it up on a stand in my office. That would get me playing the guitar.

Soon enough, people on the other end of my Zoom calls started complimenting the guitar. It is a nice piece. Too bad I can’t play a lick.

These compliments got under my skin. I moved the guitar out of the frame. That made me feel better, sort of.

When I knew I would be leaving my stressful career behind, I held hope that I would pick up the guitar and continue with my lessons. I surely would have time. Music brings pure joy to my heart, although I have never played an instrument. I knew the guitar would be a priority in my mini-retirement.

Seven months later, the guitar still looks excellent in the corner of my office.

Off-camera, of course.


In a brain imaging study, researchers found that letting go of stuff is actually painful.

I jettisoned many possessions this year. Some of them had sentimental value, but I could let them go. The guitar hasn’t been so easy.

I know I will not invest the time to learn to play. I know that it serves no purpose in my life.

Yet, it pains me to give up.

I feel guilty for owning two guitars in my life and not knowing how to play the instrument.

I spent good money on the guitar and was confident that I wanted to learn to play. After all, I do love music.

The guitar sits in the corner, mocking me. And it hurts.


Today I put my foot down.

The guitar is going.

I bought it to bring joy into my hectic life. Guess what? My life is no longer hectic, and there is much joy in the things I choose to do now.

I’m letting go of the past and living in the present. There is no room for the guitar in my simpler life.

I contacted a local charity and will donate the guitar to an organization that will use it to serve the community.

I feel good about this decision.

Finally, I am moving past this roadblock to simpler living.


Mini-retirement has opened my eyes to the benefits of simple living. I ran into a wall confronting an item I couldn’t get rid of. It took time and internal struggles to convince me to let it go.

Perhaps you have similar challenges as you work to simplify your life. Take time to understand the why. Eventually, you may be able to let go.

Now onto the box of Star Wars stuff