When I was a student I moved around a lot. Most of my stuff had to fit in my car so I could move it in one go. Later when I was in my early 20’s and had my own place I had keys to my apartment, keys to where I worked, keys to my car and keys to my boyfriends apartment and an apartment full of stuff. Then one December in Maine right after Christmas, I got a call from my brother who lived in Florida. He asked me how things were and I replied, ‘cold’ and he invited me down there to live. He had invited me many times before but I was to busy in my life to think about it. This time when he said it the moment was ripe. I decided to do it. I quit my job and moved out of my apartment. I did it all pretty much in one day.
In one day I had loaded up all the important things in my car and gave all the extra stuff to my roommate. I gave all the keys back to everyone and at the end of the day all I had was a car full of stuff and my car keys. I could not believe the feeling of freedom I had. It wasn’t just the freedom of the anticipation of a new beginning but it was the freedom of not having the responsibility of all that stuff. I have never forgotten that feeling.
Now it is 20 years later and I still tap into that feeling on occasion. Like many things in my life irony plays a heavy role. I married a hoarder. My husband uses every square inch of this house for all of his many things. At first I found it obtrusive that I had no space for myself. Even my children have their own rooms but I do my work on the bed and carry my laptop around looking for a place to work. Many of my friends consider this spousal abuse and years ago maybe I would have agreed but I have found something very liberating about it. I have found that now that my children are older, I am not tied down anywhere. I can leave whenever I like. I am not encumbered by stuff and do not feel the need to gain more stuff. Also, I can clean like you won’t believe.
This past week I have been cleaning out the attic and the storage shed. I have put a lot of things on the internet to sell and other things I have just tossed away. I feel so much lighter. The more I get rid of the lighter I feel. It all reminds me of that feeling I had all those years ago. After all, do we really need all these things? I don’t think so. I also do not like shopping. Not the process but the bringing home of stuff. I suppose it saves me a lot of money but mostly in my mind is that I do not have the responsibility for all the stuff. If the world is based on consumerism and the acquisition of material gain well then, I guess I’m not from this world and I’m on Mars.