Stuff and things, things and stuff

A few months back, I received a call from Baltimore Magazine asking me to be part of their May 2013 issue, which is out on stands now. I was asked to share a little bit about myself and provide a list of 10 things that I couldn’t live without. Charmed Life, Top 10. I’ve had a subscription to Baltimore Magazine for years, so I new precisely to which feature this referred. I was excited about the opportunity, very much so, and without hesitation I agreed to participate. The experience was wonderful (and I had no reason to doubt that it wouldn’t be) but it was much more than that. My thought processes over the month prior to the final submission date took me in many directions, as I weighted the importance of “10 things” in my life.

I was told I couldn’t pick a person(s), a place, a memory, family, a pet, the organ donor who saved a life (OK that’s an exaggeration, but still). Also, on a “discouraged” list were items that have become such a part of society’s norm that they’re rather boring because most people have one or more of them: iPods, iPads, MacBooks. Tangible things that could be photographed were required. A few random things began to fill my head, but initially I couldn’t help but think that not including my daughter in a list of things that “I can’t live without” went against the phrase itself. Obviously, the term was not to be taken literally in this case. But nonetheless, the thought was there.

The path to settling on my 10 items wasn’t incredibly difficult. But I’m a perfectionist and innately put (sometimes too much?) thought into everything that I do. Therefore, creating my list gave me an opportunity to reflect on myself, necessities, why certain items that are just “things” hold significant meaning to me. It made me think about the person I am and how I might describe myself to a stranger in a way that would convey with accuracy who I am, which isn’t always as simple as it may sound. And in this case, I would be attempting to describe myself, not through words, but through tangible items.

I’m not going to spoil anything for readers and share my “Top 10” now and or tell why I chose the items that I did. But I will say that the feature helps to paint a picture of a very small portion of who I am. No one, of course, is any one “thing” or 10 “things.” We are all individuals. We’re all complicated. We all have our “things” which help us express ourselves. The things we like may open a tiny window on the surface that might reflect bits and pieces of ourselves. But these “things” ultimately do not define who we are or who we become. And for me, being part of this feature was a pleasant reminder of that fact.

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