29 July 2008

What Would You Take With You?

After having a simplifying conversation with a friend, then doing some fantasy real estate shopping over the weekend, I took a good look around my home and thought, What would I take with me?

Not much. My laptop, music and movies and books, my champagne and wine glasses, and a few pots and pans. My plates (I love my plates) and some of my clothes. Oh, and my toiletries and art. That's it. You can get really ruthless when you pack...even if it's only in your head. So, why can't I pack up all the stuff I don't really want and send it on its way?

I've tried. I've even had some success. But I just can't get as serious (or brutal) as I would be if I had to load it all up in boxes and had to take it with me.

I keep going back to my ten days in New York where I had travelled light (for me) and didn't lack a thing. I had packed perfectly for every occasion, was prepared for the weather and had a variety to pick and choose (I like options), but still didn't wear everything I packed. My entire life fit into my rolling duffel bag, and it was still more than I needed. As silly as this may sound, it was a truly liberating experience looking at the paltry selection hanging in the closet, the finite set of shoes lined on the floor. This is how I want to live, I said to myself. Simply. Efficiently. Clutter-free. More than a year later, I'm still trying to get to that point.

It really comes down to being chicken. There's something scary about throwing things out with abandon. What if I need it one day? I don't have enough money to replace it. In some ways, all that crap brings me comfort. In another, it drives me batty. I want it gone.

Part of me wants to live the fantasy. I would love to have a yard sale and get rid of it all, take what I make from it and buy only what I need and would really love. Then I say, Nah. I don't want to invest in my little hovel. While I joke that I will stay here 'til the end of time because I've got cheap rent, my neighborhood is changing. It's being over-built and will soon be over-crowded. Clompy should have served as a sign. She sounds like one of the horsemen of the apocalypse by the way she stomps around. I should have been positive thinking my way to a new, quieter, larger place with sane neighbors and my own parking space. I long for a garage. Perhaps its time for that.

I don't like being cowardly about anything. I'm one to face my fears. I'm on the verge of double-dog daring myself to do it. Get rid of it. Live simply. Efficiently. Easily. But, right now, that sounds so hard.

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