It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
-Henry David Thoreau
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The Experience – That’s What Matters

I’ve talked before the idea of gifting experiences instead of stuff.  As well as talked about how the containers and tools we use for organizing need to fit our needs – their purpose is to make our life easier.  Earlier this year I talked about Technology Tools and how these too need to be evaluated on how they could help us.  Therefore, let’s move into media – my beloved books and music!

You might be getting sick of hearing how I hold onto books and CD’s, yet these too are about the experience.  When I read, I’m learning or exploring – it’s information that I delve into and appreciate greatly.  When I listen to music, whether it’s on in the background or I’m soaking it in – it’s part of my experience.  These mediums are essentially about the experience of them.  If they’re not used, they become either décor or clutter.

Since their purpose is to be used – are you using them as effectively as you can and want?  For me, I knew I was missing much of our music.  I simply forgot what we had, even with as organized as the CD’s are, and so they would stay in their drawers.  And I was resisting the idea of digitizing our music.  Yet as I thought about all the lovely music we have – about 800 albums of a wide variety of genres, and the ensuing guilt over owning yet not appreciating them – I agreed to move them into digital form.

We used an external hard drive to store the digitized music, purchased the Sonos system to have access to our music wirelessly, and presto we have digital access to our entire music library.  Now we can listen and appreciate the music we love, which is what matters most.  In addition, we used the process of digitizing our music to purge – was there any reason to keep those albums we ended up not loving?

I’ve not jumped into an e-reader yet – and am not sure if I will.  I read daily and our books are organized so I can find what I want or need.  Yet, as I’ve talked about with all these other things – what are your personal needs?  This isn’t about following the crowd, but rather about whether an e-reader would facilitate your needs and values.

Remember, this is about the experience – and whether you hold a book in your hands or an e-reader, you can jump into the words, knowledge, and world either way.  If I was traveling more I don’t think I could resist getting an e-reader – having any number of books available in one convenient place (without any additional weight).  I’m impressed with the ease it can offer for people to read – in the waiting rooms, lunch breaks, wherever there’s some available time.

As with virtually everything I talk about – I am not advocating one thing or another.  It’s about your life and what can help you in living it they way you want – to make the most of the experiences you want.  And, I’m not saying that you need to get rid of the physical items even if they’re digital.  We kept most of our CD’s, only parting with about 70 of them.  Similarly, I couldn’t imagine parting with many of our books.

It’s all about experiencing the content.  If you’re not accessing them, is there a better way?  What’s getting in the way of using them?  The digital possibilities offer us options in order for us to have the experience of them regardless of the medium.  If you consider yourself a book or music lover, does your life reflect those values?  If not, it might be time to consider alternatives that can help you in living your values.

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