TITLE: Imbued With The Spirit Of YAGNI
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: March 16, 2009 3:41 PM
I spent most of the last four days of last week -- and
nights -- digging out of the result of having lived 17
years in one house, as a moderate pack rat living with
three major pack rats.
Remember that whole
thing? Fuhgeddaboudit. The idea worked well for a
few weeks. But then we encountered a problem everyone
knows to avoid: the developers were the same people as
the customers. When we got somewhere between 60% and
80% of our stuff moved, we reached something akin to a
software prototype that offers most of the desired
features. At that point, the customers went inexplicably
AWOL. They were happy enough with the 80% solution.
Then came a long period of no measurable progress, no
external motivation, and no
Big Visible Chart
to keep the developers honest.
Finally came the week of the closing on the sale of
the old house. We were exceedingly lucky to have found
buyers the first day the house was on the market and to
have them want to close in a brisk five weeks. Hurray!
... except for the part about moving the rest of our
stuff. We found ourselves in horrible crunch mode.
The last 20% took 80% of the total move time. I worked
around the clock for four days, stopping for classes
and essential meeting. In the end, we just made it --
I, dead tired, with a bad cold, and a lot of
stuff in boxes.
Why the title? After 17 years of saving things we "might
need some day", we know the answer. We never did. We
had boxes. Packing material. Textbooks, class notes.
Really. I went from sentimental fool having a hard time
tossing anything to pitching favored gifts and keepsakes
like a disinterested pro. A few possessions rose above
the newly-elevated threshold for what to keep, but not
many. If I don't have a specific plan for using something
in the next few weeks, it is gone. I have enough boxes
and portfolios and a pile of notebooks and pads sufficient
to outfit a medium-sized government agency. If I don't
have a specific scenario for reminiscing over some memento,
it too is gone. Sportsmanship trophies from 2nd-grade
basketball leagues? I don't think so.
I ain't gonna need it. I trust that now. This is the
best lesson for living more simply than I've ever