Three days later my house almost looks like it did when I first moved in
JC has dibs on the Stickley recliner I never sat in. The rest? Wow. It's amazing how fast you can clear out. While there's still a lot to be done, the garage is already full of stuff for staging. A trip by my consignment store yielded gold: they know me well, and like my stuff a lot. They're having a tenth anniversary sale all July and want smalls, which is a lot of what I have. We'll see how that goes as I am hardly the only person getting rid of stuff.
Just before dinner I was clearing out books. If you're old enough, and a serious reader, hefty books are old friends. Too many I bought with great intentions and never read, a comment made by an anthropologist staying at Researcher's Rest in Arusha while I was there. I realized that I'd have to let go of five bookshelves' worth but some, I just couldn't.
Those had my father's name in them. One had my grandmother Julia's name in it, in neat script in pencil. I just can't. Those are hands reaching from my past, and I can't let them go. The rest, I can rent from a library or put on my kindle. Those books speak to the heart. They aren't just paper. That paper carries the handwriting of my family. For now, they stay with me.
I have a lot of books. No really, a LOT of books. I just loaded the entire lot of them into my car and the back end is dragging much like my butt feels. And then there were the hundreds and hundreds of DVDs. I already donated most of them. Part of the fun of doing this is paring down to what I really, really care about. The pile is much smaller. If it weren't for my gear, I'd be able to put it into my car like I did at sixteen, and have room for a dog.
There is no feeling so freeing for a natural wanderer than a car with just your stuff, or heading out with just a backpack. Once I got past the deep sadness of losing my company and realizing the house went with it, and kindly I am still processing all that, the idea of really and truly being light again is very seductive.
I spoke to my friend Melissa early this morning before I went to the gym. She asked for a particular piece I'd bought in Bali three years ago. Then, she apologized.
I guess it felt too much like showing up as your mother is on her death bed and yelling DIBS on the antique dresser that her pills are sitting on. However, I'm not dying, at least for a while, just the life I tried to create. Several folks have hollered DIBS on a few of my pieces, and that is fine by me.
JC and I have breakfast in Portland this Friday and his wife gets a huge ceramic Mexican hippo with a lovely tree in it. I really kind of like this process, especially when an item lands where it will be loved.
I am wrapping up my sixties and getting ready for my seventies. One friend, whose resources are far more extensive than mine, bought a massive mansion in Albuquerque and threw herself into all the fixings. She has three dishwashers.
Look, I have two ovens, and I only used mine once a year. Who am I to judge? She's in her eighties now, and they have this enormous place to manage. I thought that was what I wanted: to manage a household in a lovely place. Yes, BUT. The cost is too high. Again, all I can do here, given the current economics, is pay bills and watch the birds.
Not how I want to spend the next decades.
I need a base-ops, a place to store just a few things, the basics for adventure gear, my computer and a sense of humor again. I like being able to park the car, leave a much smaller buncha stuff behind, not have to worry about landscaping and home security, and hit the road, Jack.
That's the tentative plan. Hell, I left for Africa just SURE that I was going to keep the house. I came home knowing I had to sell it.
Last night the longest day of the year was bright and sunny in that gorgeous way that Oregon can soak you one day and burn you the next. I love it here. And there are other places in the world with similar weather. What I let go of allows me to move forward, painful as that may feel in the moment.
For you and me to see life differently, we must make significant payments, or else forever be mired in the mud, complaining about life's unfairness and what we deserve. Of course I'm scared. Of course there are huge questions to be answered. Of course I have doubts.
However, every bag, every box, every item of furniture I schelp to the car and then to the resale shops is more weight off my shoulders. Less to carry, less to manage. This is going to take a while. There's such grace in that process.
There's a pivotal scene in The Hobbit when Gandalf has summoned the eagles to save him and the dwarves as they teeter over a cliff, under attack by the evil orcs led by Azog:
He simply lets go and falls, trusting, with good reason, that the eagles will catch him, just as they do the other dwarves.
Sometimes, you simply have to let go. At some point, even the pile of what I am planning to keep will also diminish. Eventually, so will my body, so that the only thing that is left is what flies on without that.
Ultimately, there is nothing on earth that keeps me here. Knowing that makes it far easier to let go of those belongings which currently keep me earthbound.
Of course this is hard. Of course it's painful. Of course it's difficult. That is the very definition of growth.
I had a rough day yesterday. It was a long day. Those come and go. They are a part of the sacred process of evolving.
I don't know what's next. But I've thrown myself out of a lot of airplanes, and my parachutes have always opened (including the two times the main ones failed).
Until it's time for the eagles to take me to my next adventure, I'm letting go of the ballast to see how high I can fly.
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