Since I made the decision to change my life, I have had to let go of a lot of stuff.
Why do we get so attached to our stuff? People say it is because of the memories associated with the items. I don’t buy that. That doesn’t explain why it is hard to get rid of that ratty old bookshelf. Sure, I remember staining it in my backyard, that stinky stain, so it wouldn’t be so ugly. Then it sat and held books and got dusty. What about that kitchen table with chairs that don’t match? Or the dressers I’ve owned since I was 16 years old?
I don’t have any particular memories about these items, yet I feel a little pang of sadness when they are gone. I think it is guilt. Guilt because they served me so well and now I am just tossing them to the wind. Who knows what their new owners will do to them? Or maybe it is fear. Fear of what will happen when the stuff that owns me no longer has its hold.
Packing up your life is hard. I am surrounded by boxes and piles of items that have been put into categories: give away, throw away, sell, pack for storage, or take with me.
The constant evaluation of every item I own is draining. Do I really need this? Will I want it in a year? Do I need it so bad I have to take it with me? Can I live and function without it? Which box should it go in?
Sometimes I open a closet, look at its contents, stare its contents with a gaping jaw, and then just close the closet again because I cannot face making all the decisions! But slowly the decisions are made and the closets and cupboards become empty.
What surprises me is that the things I thought were my most valuable possessions in fact are not: my business; my house; my truck. I feel no sadness at all for closing my business. I know I can start it up again, but it is curious that I have no guilt about it at all when I spent a good portion of my life building it. My house and my truck were sad to sell but I got over it rather quickly.
It turns out the things that have the most value to me are the things I cannot part with: my boat; my camera; my dog.
I wish I could take the boat on the trip! He’s in storage now and I had little talk with him to explain why I was leaving and that he is a good boat and when I get back we will have lots of new adventures in new waters together. Yes, my boat is a “he” since he is Snoopy. Snoopy is just not a girl.
My camera (or should I say “all of my camera equipment” and there’s quite a bit of it now) and my dog (who is really more of a child than a possession) are coming with me. And I cannot part with my new engagement ring even though it wont be insured. It is my love for these things and what they represent that gives them their value. But the most valuable thing of all is not a thing. It is an experience. An experience that will be worth getting rid of all the old crap.