I own my stuff, it doesn’t own me!
So the saying goes, but put into practice this is actually very difficult to live up to. Maybe it’s the American consumerist in me, but as we start to sort through our belongings to determine what to keep, sell, or toss the decision is often much harder than it should be. A lot of the objects have a history, and therefore some sentimental value. I have to remind myself that if it has lived in a box for the past two years, I won’t likely miss it. As I go to toss something in the sell pile, I hear a little voice in my head: “you’ll just have to buy another one of those later!” Shut up practical Micha. Later is a long ways away…and maybe I can learn to live without.
We have a LOT of stuff. You would think that moving into a studio apartment last year would have forced us to downsize already, but access to our very own garage has kept that from happening, and it seems we have gathered even more crap in the past 12 months. It doesn’t help that my mom just moved to Australia, thus forcing me to take back my old books, photos, and projects that I thought would have a home in someone else’s home indefinitely. I guess that’s a big part of growing up…taking ownership of your own life’s memorabilia and saving it for the next generation’s entertainment.
Andrew has a lot of gear: rock climbing, camping, snowboarding, surfing, slacklining; ropes are coiled in milk crates, metal hooks and rings abound, and tent poles are wrapped together with bungees and tossed into various storage nooks. Propane tanks, multiple stoves, water jugs, and sleeping bags mean we are set for the forthcoming Zombie Apocalypse.
I have a lot of clothes. Two closet racks and two mini dressers worth, not to mention piles and piles of shoes. A furry sweater vest that Andrew hates and that I wore maybe three times since I bought it is the pinnacle of my silly fashion purchases. I also have oodles of cosmetics: lotions, potions, oils, hair products, gels, sprays, wipes clog my bathroom drawers. In short, I guess I’m a bit of a girl.
When we went to Kauai for the first half of our honeymoon I fell in love. I fell in love with the humidity and damp tropical air. The constant jumping in and out of the ocean. These things made makeup and hair products useless, and I gave them up with glee, my only regret was that I felt it necessary to bring all of it in the first place. The hiking and constant use of flip flops and sandals tore up my feet and made them fat and happy, making the thought of stuffing myself into my new heels laughable. The casual island vibe also made dressing up seem like a surefire way to be pegged as a clueless tourist, so my dresses and jewelry stayed safely tucked away in my suitcase.
The feeling of freedom I gained while untethered by these articles of consumerism and “beauty” was powerful. As I sort through my crap, trying to decide what the next several months of my life will look like, I will reflect on my time in Kauai and think to myself, “will I really need this while hiking in Yellowstone? Will I feel ugly without mascara as we drive through Arches in Utah?” I think not. And what could possibly be more exciting and exhilarating than the freedom to be so unburdened?