My story of stuff

Earth Day is around the corner and it’s particularly timely as I rummage through my possessions, getting ready for the move from Korea.

I hate moving.

The emotional part is difficult. When it comes to closing a chapter, I do it very unwillingly…reading every.word.slowly.

Then, there’s the practical part. The logistics. The movement. The piles and the boxes and the parting.

As shared early on, I’m a clinger. Buddha would shake his finger at me for this. I attach myself as easily to outcomes as I do objects.

I’m the person with shoe boxes of old photographs, many duplicated. I hold onto rocks and shells for sentimental reasons. When the whole world was buying CDs, I was clutching my mixed tapes, claiming: THESE WILL BE WORTH SOMETHING SOMEDAY!

Let’s just say that scaling down does not come easily for me. I’m not a hoarder or anything. There IS a line. But, as Craig and I go through our stuff, it is pretty clear what we need a shipping company for…me; my crap.

Now, Craig’s always been a minimalistic type of dude. He relishes in giving his things away. He does not find it very difficult to live on two pairs of shorts, four tees, and some flip-flops. Not too long ago, he read about this 100 item challenge where someone tried to live possessing only 100 things. He came home excitedly saying: “I’m gonna do that!”

I looked up from my laptop and quietly said: “Good for you.” Then whispered,” More space for me.”

The thing is, I would like to simplify.

At this point, I’m called to question: What is my story of stuff? How does what I buy, give away, and keep affect my impact on the Earth? What is the difference between want and need?

Last year, some friends of ours from school retired. In September, we got word that there was a fire in their North Carolina home. Most of their possessions, photos, travel memoirs had burned up in that fire. It was tragic. I wondered if I had seconds to salvage one thing in a fire, what it would be? The whole idea saddened me.

But, this couple’s resilient nature and in-tune-ness with gratitude sent an incredible message of what’s really important in life.

Objects can be replaced. There will be more places to visit and buy a magnet from. More photos to be taken. New furniture and clothing to be bought. It would really suck to lose things of value; things you saved up for, things especially unique. But, clearly there are things more treasured: health, loved ones, memory.

Sheryl Crow said: I draw from my family and my friends and I feel like that small-town person. The achievements, the materialistic possessions have really become to mean less. They mean nothing.

I like this message. In the next few weeks, I hope to be more selective in what I deem necessary to travel with us to another country. I aim to recognize where there’s abundance and give away things others may find useful. These are my goals.

I’ll do my best.

But if I fall short of expectation, please don’t wag your finger at me.

I don’t like it.

  1. Danny said:

    I know EXACTLY what you’re going through right now…I’m trying to do the very same thing. ;)

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