I was standing in front of my record collection the weekend before the movers were set to arrive. We had been through so much together, me and these vinyl discs. The angst filled high school years, the party hearty college years, and on into my early adulthood — my record collection had always been with me. And then, on a whim, I decided to say goodbye. Sometimes in a fit of shedding off an old life we make rash decisions. (I say ‘we’ because I hope I’m not the only one who does this.) Collections that we promised we’d never part with suddenly get piled together with the bags of old clothes on their way to Salvation Army.
Such was the case with my beloved vinyl collection. When my husband and I decided to downsize our lives in order to go from renters to homeowners, I went on a purging spree like never before. Things I thought I would have with me when I was wheeled into a nursing home I suddenly saw as bulky inconveniences that would take up precious space in our new little home.
And my collection of albums took a lot of space. When we dropped the five crates of records off at Salvation Army, the attendant assumed I was a DJ. "Giving up the dream, eh?" he said. Fact is, I was never a DJ but I do love music and that record collection contained some pretty amazing tunes. Old rare jazz albums, a vast collection of early 60’s soul that had been passed on to me by my aunt — there were albums in there that will never be digitized and re-released on CD or as digital downloads.
Do I regret my decision to ditch the albums? A little, yes. About a year after this purging event, kits to transfer records to MP3’s became widely available. If I had just held onto them a little longer, I realized, I could have transferred my favorite albums!
Ultimately, however, I never regret the loss of physical items. In the end it’s just stuff and there will always be more stuff in my future. So I don’t have the pleasure of listening to that old Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye album that I loved playing on a Sunday afternoon. I’m still a little sad about that but, hey, the beat goes on.