There’s a cost.

There’s a cost to everything. Consider it carefully.

*

I got rid of fifteen boxes of comic books recently. They were my brothers’. They were into the comic book scene from the late eighties to the early aughts. Then life took them in different directions. Literally. One moved to New Zealand, the other cross-country to Ontario. What then to do with the boxes? What to do with the dearly-loved copies of X-men, Silver Surfer, and Robotech that were not going to make the trip?

Enter the sister. Enter the sister with the house. More specifically, enter the sister with the basement. It’s a magic basement. Things arrive but never leave. The comic books are a case in point.

My brothers never asked for them back. Never mentioned a plan for reacquisition at all.

I’d query them periodically. Now? How about now? The answer was always “not yet” followed by assurances that the collections were valuable and I should continue to shepherd their investment. Finally, about three years ago, I learned the truth. They wanted them back never. The comics were mine to do with as I wished. I could sell them, they said. Make a mint or at least several thousand dollars, they said.

I thought about it but selling comics is time-consuming. First, there’s sorting nearly two thousand comics. Then, there’s finding out prices. Then advertising, selling, and shipping. A lot of work for something I don’t care about. I gave up on the project and resigned myself to owning the boxes forever. A garage sale was out of the question. I have a thing. No garage sales. They cause me distress.

So, they sat in the basement, taking up physical and mental space. They even came with us when we moved.  In retrospect, that was an opportunity missed.

I wanted them gone but throwing them away seemed vile, unforgivably wasteful. Finally, a friend suggested I try a comic book store.

I should’ve done it years before. I called and shortly thereafter, a very nice man showed up, looked them over, and offered three hundred dollars for the bunch. It was perhaps underpriced. I didn’t care. He could have had them for nothing. They were gone and the relief was enormous.

*

Be careful what you commit to. Everything has a cost and it’s not always clear in the beginning. When I agreed to help out, I didn’t realize I was agreeing to babysit comic books until the end of time.

Every action we take has consequences. Some are good. Some are not. That’s life. But understanding what the action asks of us is important. Understanding there are upfront, long-term, and hidden costs is vital.

I didn’t realize agreeing to look after my brothers’ collections would leave me feeling anxious and imposed-upon for years. Then again, I didn’t ask questions. We often don’t. In retrospect, I should have set a storage unit time-limit.

Be aware costs exist. Get curious about them. It’s best to have all the information before agreeing to anything. It’s best to understand the cost completely. That way you’re making an informed decision; you’ve decided the cost, whatever the currency – in my case time, space, and anxiety – is one you’re willing to pay.

Consider carefully. Not every gift with purchase is desirable.

Do you think about the costs and consequences of the decisions you make and the actions you take?

11 thoughts on “There’s a cost.

    1. I think it’s a risk. I think you have to live life to have good thoughts. I think the sage on a hill might have great ideas but they might not actually work in the real world. Although, if someone offered me a really nice house on the top of a hill that had a pool and wifi, I might be tempted to test the theory.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Eh… I’ve been through that “comic book situation” myself. More than once now. Only I’m the one that needs storage, not provides it. I always found it annoying when people asked if I could take my stuff. They had the space whereas I didn’t. It was more convenient to leave it with them. Things were too valuable/ full of sentimental value. You’re right – I never really planned on collecting it all…

    What made you finally pull the plug and do something with them?

    I do think I understand your point of view now, though. It’s something that’s your problem and something you have nothing from.

    As far as decisions are concerned, yes, I do consider the consequences. Sometimes they are more short-sighted than others. Everything has consequences, there’s a cost associated with every move we make. But worrying about the price gets to be too much sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What made me pull the plug finally was my daughter moving back home with her son and my son moving back home and all the extra stuff. I get stressed with a lack of organization and my storage room was a disaster. And they took up so much space! I just got a little tired of acquiesing to being taken for granted, I supposed. The foot coming down happened shortly after the whole “I’m not going to Mexico” debacle which though harsh, gave me a bit of a push.

    I’m glad you look to consequences but understand the need to obsess. For me, it works mostly with thinking about what I’m going to say about something and “seeing” how it might play out and making necessary adjustments.

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  3. I know people whose parents have died years and years ago but they still have box loads of stuff. Recently I carefully asked one of them about maybe choosing a few extra special things instead, since unpacked boxes were a source of anxiety, she said that she had. What was left was all the boxes she has now.
    When my mother died I chose a handful of things: several paintings and a couple statues. I ended up giving all but two paintings away and one of those is in a pile to be donated or sold at my friends eBay store (delayed due to lockdown). The last painting, one she painted, will be a gift to someone, not sure who but someone who’ll appreciate it. What will be left? My memories. When my dad dies? I’ll keep some amazing conversations we had. I’ve never really understood how filling my house with stuff will somehow make those memories any different.

    As for thoughtful purchases. Oh my goodness… I have to work incredibly hard at purchases other than food and gas. I’m, like the majority of bipolar 1’s, have heavy debt due to manic spending. I try practicing a 24 hour delay. If, after a full day or two, it still seems a reasonable purchase, if after I looked at my account, it’s still seems a sensible item than yeah, I’ll go back. Most often I’m glad I waited. Buying anything nonessential is a torturous affair, that is, unless I’m in a manic phase. When that happens and I finally calm down, I sit in my living room looking at the purchases and think, “well, shit.” sigh

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  4. The twenty-four delay is a good plan. I’m not bipolar but when I’m depressed, I have a tendency to medicate with Amazon. I’m not thrilled with my debt either. I’ve set a similar thing. I add the things I want to the cart over the week and then Sunday, I review and see if I want the things. This is the first week. We’ll see how it goes. I’d like more mindful purchases at time. The box of gold-infused under-eye masks remain unused. 🙂

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