In the south we call them knick-nacks or what-nots. Regardless of the name, they are items that serve no functional purpose, and my shelves at work were laden with them. I’ve been on a roll getting rid of items from my life that don’t add value or serve a real purpose. Everything has been potential fodder for the chopping block lately. However, these particular tchotchkes proved somewhat problematic. I had an almost visceral response when contemplating removing these items from my life. Why? Well, because most of them had to do with Rush or Star Trek, two of my most favorite things in the whole world. The rest of the items were pictures of me and my family, items collected from events or special occasions, or art of some sort.

As an experiment, I decided first to box up all the Star Trek tchotchkes. I’ve been without them for two days, and do you know what? I don’t miss them. I’m probably going to sell them on ebay. This experiment paved the way for me to ditch a few more items from my credenza at work.

I scanned the covers of the magazines with Rush on them, I scanned the picture of Theresa and me at the Air Force Ball. I took photos of other sentimental items. After scanning or photographing the items, I got rid of them. Now the framed photos of my family are at the forefront. I have room to open my Rush and Depeche Mode tour books to pages with interesting photos on them. My old friend, Byron’s, sculpture is now in a position where it can be viewed and enjoyed.

Previously, I did the same thing to many of the items adorning the walls of my office. I decided to take it a bit further. I removed most of the framed certificates lauding my many accolades, leaving only the ones that are important to me – my bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, my Associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force, and my commissioning certificate from the Air Force. I scanned and discarded the rest.

While removing all these items, I came to a few realizations:

1. I’m still a huge Star Trek fan without the action figures and model ships.
2. Theresa and I still went to the Air Force ball in 2016, even if I got rid of the photo and commemorative glass.
3. The magazines with Rush and Neil Peart on them contained articles I can probably read online, and will like never read again anyway.
4. I still love Rush even without all the Rush stuff.
5. I’m still certified by CompTIA without the physical certificates. In fact, my company couldn’t give less of a crap that I am – they value my experience and contribution to their company.
6. I still ran the half marathon without the medal.
7. I still got ordained as a deacon without the certificate.
8. I still went to boot camp and tech school without the certificates – I’m no less a member of the Air National Guard without them.

In other words, those objects in no way, shape, or form define who I am, but rather, it is the experiences themselves that matter.

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