I bought a new bookshelf…

I’m just over a week shy of 9 months here in Brooklyn. June 1st will be the 10th anniversary of the beginning of my project, with only 3 more months after that to officially finish it out, an occasion I’ll commemorate with my 18th tattoo. (Another fun fact: December 1st will mark the longest amount of time I’ve lived in one place since I left Kansas.)

So I bought a bookshelf.

Over the years, I’ve stored my books in a variety of ways. In Charlotte, there was the makeshift shelving of a recently graduated male:


In Philly, my tower grew vertically if not aesthetically (you’ll notice I’m still rocking a few VHS to go with my totally bitching VHS/DVD combo TV):

Entertainment Library

In later years, the shelving varied but I thankfully moved on from the milk crate stylings.

Book Shelf

Many of the books that began this journey with me are no longer in my possession, lost either to financial/practical needs or borrowed and never returned. As I progressed through my decade on the road, I grew reluctant to buy new books. Besides for the cost, they were simply more things to pack up and move each and every year. It seemed like such a waste when public libraries were just as convenient.

That is, until this year. Somehow, despite using the Brooklyn library for most of my reading needs, I’ve managed to add more than a dozen books to my collection, which for the past few years had been steady or shrinking. That is no longer the case.

My goal for the better part of my project was to get all of my earthly possessions down to 2 boxes and a suitcase. I never quite made it there as, at my leanest, I still required 3 boxes, 1 suitcase and 1 shoulder bag to accommodate my belongings. An admirable go of it, at least.

Living with less has always been more a product of necessity than some kind of spiritual mantra. Why bog down my existence with stuff if it was only going to make my already difficult life even harder?

In the process of trying to streamline my life, I’ve also gotten a little lazier about unpacking. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least one cardboard box full of shit serving double duty as a table or nightstand. It just made sense: One less piece of furniture to buy/find and one less box to pack when I moved again.

Which brings me to the present and my newest bookshelf.

It’s slowly been sinking in that I’m not moving this year. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I plan on re-upping my lease for the first time ever and sticking through a second year. Other than perhaps lugging it across the hall to a bigger bedroom, my stuff is staying put.

So I bought a bookshelf, put it together and placed it where my last unpacked box had been sitting.

I haven’t suddenly become a spendthrift. Everything I own still fits inside a bedroom that’s barely 9’x9′. I like the minimal life. But everything I own is also out of boxes, no longer staged for a quick move. I’m gradually acclimating to the idea that I will still be here for a second autumn, winter, spring, summer…

Unless, of course, I have a panic attack in the next 3 months and move to Moscow.

Nah, that probably won’t happen.

The next step: Get some art on my walls.

I’m here.
I’m settled.
I’m staying?

Peggy Olson Queen

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