April 2016 marks the beginning of a new era.
All in one week, I made the decision to rid myself of the majority of my possessions, participated in my first running race, celebrated one year of dating my amazing boyfriend, and received word that my divorce was final. So much, all in one week. My head is spinning, and at the same time, I feel like the world is my oyster. After successfully recovering from the Ragnar Relay (and after temporarily swearing off running forever), I regained my motivation to grab the bull by the horns, if you will.
Piece by piece I am severing the sentimental ties to things that are just things, and I am disposing of, giving away, selling and donating the majority of what I own. In four weeks’ time, I will leave the place I’ve called home for five years with a few bits and pieces — some heirlooms, some books, some clothes, my laptop and my gear, and I will be a free-er woman!
“The things you own, end up owning you” – Tyler Durden
So what might I have in store for the coming year? Simplicity. Very few belongings. I want to know I can live out of my backpack when I want to. More running, more cycling, more hiking, more going. I have plans travel more, find the world, nature and myself as much as possible.
But let’s start with step one: untie these ties!
Downsizing is a quite epic task when you’ve fully furnished and occupied 1000 square feet of living space for a few years. I feel like I have so little, yet there are so many things here. I’ve broken it down into what I hope are easy steps. I’ve been making progress with friends and neighbors, pawning off things that people can use for the sheer joy of seeing something go to a new home where it will be appreciated. So far, I’ve collected $40 by selling my old backpack on OfferUp, and sold my Craigslist dining set to a neighbor. I’ve given away my patio chairs, tripod, most of my plants, computer desk, and a handful of other items — books, DVDs, art, etc.
I don’t even feel one bit jaded by not taking money for all of these things. I acquired much of them long ago, for minimal cost, and this is my way to give back to the people who have provided so much support and encouragement, pure friendship and love.
Over the course of this last week, amidst all of the shuffling, the bartering, the giving, I felt two very distinct and extreme emotions:
Separation Anxiety. I woke up in a complete panic over the thought of not having a washer and dryer anymore. What if I need them again one day?!?! I’m going to be using someone else’s! I’m going be dependent! OMG I’M LOSING MY INDEPENDENCE!
Elation. As I handed off two large framed prints that have been with me for many, many years, I felt a twinge of regret that they were just ripped from my life so quickly. And then they were gone. And suddenly, I no longer felt attachment to them. Suddenly, the thought of having them again became so unappealing. My thoughts gravitated to the appreciation expressed to me by the recipients of my belongings, and it felt great. I felt like a successful matchmaker.
The panic is subsiding over the big changes that I am making this month. I have been planning this change for so long, and it is finally unfolding. My calculated plan for happiness and freedom is well underway, and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have spent the better part of the last two years searching for what I needed to do to find my own personal happiness, and the determination is paying off. I’ve never been happier. I have so little, yet I have so much. My chosen family is growing stronger every day. My support system is overwhelmingly amazing. I am doing things I never imagined I could do. My fears are diminishing and my confidence grows. Life is good!