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?