Stuff is only stuff until you let it go (this is not a post about minimalism)

empty storage locker

 

“You must feel lighter.”

I can’t tell you how many people have said this to me as I’ve been selling or giving away almost everything I own in anticipation of my cross-country move to Prince Edward Island.

I imagine that at some point soon I will.

But right now, as I’ve just sold my last remaining pieces of furniture (two bright orange folding deck chairs and a small outdoor table), I don’t feel lighter.

I feel sad.

I loved those chairs. I loved how cheerful I felt when I found them at Walmart and how they created a peaceful little nook to play my guitar outside when I lived in that basement apartment in the Beach.

Gone.

I loved my sit-stand desk and my executive La-Z-Boy chair which made me feel like such a lady boss as I was building my business in the shared apartment at Harbourfront.

Gone.

I loved the ultra-modern coffee table I bought for the apartment at Church and Wellesley and the white shelving unit that I searched endlessly for in stores and ultimately found for free when I’d stopped looking for and my parent’s old teak dining room table where I hosted my first post-divorce dinner party.   

Gone, gone, and gone.   

I did not love the couch of celibacy – a Florence-style knockoff that was rock hard to sit on and converted into an equally uncomfortable bed for visitors. 

But it was cheap and, when I bought it 9 years ago, I was just as determined to stay celibate for a year as I am now. At the time, I couldn’t see myself making out on it ever although I did repeatedly with Bernie and Sean and Guy and Mike (not, unfortunately, all at the same time. 😉)

 No, I didn’t love that couch, but I sure loved those men.  

And all of that too is now gone.  

These pieces and many of the others that have left my life in the past five years as I’ve been gradually, unknowingly, downsizing, aren’t just stuff.   

They are material representations of times in my life that will never come again.

They were fresh starts and creativity and making the best of a bad situation. They were vision and resolve and wonder at the abundance of the Universe. They were bad decisions and tears and getting back up.

They were me in my 40s creating a life after my last do-over when I left my ex in 2013.

They were friendships and laughter and love and hopes and dreams.

And now just under nine years later, in what feels like the flap of a hummingbird’s wing, so much of that life is gone, it takes my breath away.

But I can’t take them with me. They belong to another time.

They wouldn’t fit where I’m going now.

And yes, I know I’ll always have the memories. I’ve taken the photos. I’ve thanked them for their service. I’ve wished them well.

But right now, I don’t feel lighter.  

I feel sad and discombobulated and a little overwhelmed.

Because when I arrive at my next place of residence, I won’t have any of my familiar stations to anchor me to the rituals of the day.

Yes, I’ll get a new bed and a new desk and new artwork that I love.

But, as I write this, I am in the liminal space where the past is gone and the future has yet to be furnished.

And that in-between space – whether you are between jobs or between loves or between identities – can feel heavy because when you remove all the other stuff, you are left with nothing but yourself, and that’s the very point when you realize how much other baggage you are still carrying.

So. No. I don’t feel lighter… yet.

I have things to let go of still.

But I’ll get there one item and one step at a time.  

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1 Comment

  1. It’s so hard to get rid of stuff! I struggle with determining the stuff I need vs the stuff I don’t. All the advice I’ve been given over the years about uncluttering hasn’t yet solved this for me :).
    Despite the sadness of it, you’ve managed to get rid of the stuff you don’t really need, and that’s an accomplishment, June.
    Hope you’re enjoying your new home!

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