The Red Line

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I watch the weirdest stuff on TV when I’m at the gym, especially if it’s late morning.  Yesterday I got completely sucked into an episode of Hoarders. I don’t know how long this show has been on cable, but I’m guessing they have to keep finding worse and worse examples of hoarding in order to keep the viewers coming back..

I mean seriously, where do you go once you’ve shown the house with the cockroaches, rotting food, boxes and stuff piled to the ceiling? Well, here’s where you go.. you go to the house that has all of those things with the additional roof and septic tank leaks so all of the piles of garbage are wet and covered in “you know what.”

That’s where you go., yuck.

Watching this show actually reminded me of our trip to Charleston a few week-ends ago and a super strange tour we took through one of the historic homes. The Calhoun House belongs to a wildly successful (retired?) lawyer who crosses the globe buying priceless antiques and artifacts. For some reason (taxes?) the man has turned most floors of his home into an official “museum” that is open to the public.

Here’s the deal, billionaires can be hoarders too.  It really doesn’t matter how much the stuff costs, once it reaches critical mass, once it crowds out the rooms, once there is no place to put down your glass of iced know you’ve got a problem.

At one point, as we were all crowded together at a roped off doorway, staring into the over-cluttered study, the tour guide exclaimed, “the owner’s cat is in here!” After about two minutes one of the ladies called out “I see him!” and then went on to help the rest of us locate the sleeping feline who was absolutely invisible amidst all the stuff. I felt I as if I was teleported into a page of “Where’s Waldo?”

Having too much stuff sucks. Whether it’s a collection of crock pots, creepy porcelain dolls or foot stools made out of elephant’s feet (see photo above-it was gross) at some point your stuff starts to own you…

And that’s the red line dear friends, when your possessions start possessing you..







Sinking under a pile of poor choices

Romans 7:15- I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.

Last night while we were painting, my husband and I watched an episode of ‘Hoarders’ on TV. It never ceases to amaze me how we as humans are able to continuously adapt to the negative consequences of the choices we make, even when they are an obvious threat to our health and well being. And while I could never tolerate living in absolute squalor, I do have the ability to grudgingly accommodate the very real and cumulative fall-out of my own poor decisions.


My biggest struggle these days is finding the motivation to choose to exercise and take better care of myself. I have more than a few aches and pains that I am convinced would improve if I simply decided to make some changes in how I eat and move. But every day I make the choice not to do any of these things.


Well I guess at this point the promise of feeling better and the physical pain of not.. simply aren’t strong enough catalysts to get me going.

Maybe if I toss a basket of junk onto my living room floor for each week that goes by without eating properly or making time to work out, I’d have a clearer, starker picture of the growing price this 53 year old body will eventually be forced to pay.

The most successful intervention I ever saw on Hoarders was an episode where the Humane Society removed the person’s pets because her home was so filthy. This was clearly a consequence she couldn’t live with and her home was cleaned up in no time.

Maybe the key to life change is found in transforming the consequences of our poor decisions from the personally tolerable into the completely intolerable. No, I’m not going to create a pile of trash in my home..but I’m going to- I HAVE to– think of something…