Lately I've been noticing how easy it is to become attached to incidentals. These are the things in your life that exist to serve some other purpose but aren't, of themselves, important. Incidentals are good! They support and implement a purpose by carrying its consequences forward into all the different parts of your life.

There are many different purposes that could justify the same incidental. Living in the city could serve the purpose of being close to a high density of people, or of being in a more politically liberal area. Owning fancy kitchen equipment could serve the purpose of training to be a chef, or of making your home cooking tasks more pleasant.

If a purpose changes, its incidentals should change too. However, sometimes the link between purpose and incidental becomes unclear, or is even broken entirely. When this happens, you're left with zombie incidentals: rituals and habits that now exist only to perpetuate themselves.

Sometimes, you acquire incidentals that never had a purpose. Maybe you make your bed every morning, not because you care about its aesthetic or psychological benefits, but just because your parents told you to and you've been doing it ever since. These are ghost incidentals: the uninvited spirit of a purpose that just hangs around haunting you.

These spooky-but-useless incidentals are mostly just a nuisance: piles of volitional clutter that merely distract you from their living and intentional counterparts. However, where things really go off the rails is when enough incidentals band together, dig in, and claim to be more important than the purposes they serve.

You can tell if you're afflicted because when some purpose-level opportunity comes along – a dream gig, a career change, an exciting adventure – you find yourself thinking "oh no, what will I do about my potted plants?" If this happens, your incidentals have unionised, and you are in trouble.

Fortunately, once you recognise them for what they are, troublesome incidentals are easily remedied: just stop sustaining them. Anything that demands your space or your efforts, or presents itself as an obstacle in the face of your goals, deserves an immediate ID check. Who are you again? Who did you come here with? I knew it! Outta here, you undead tankie freeloader!