This is the last part of a 5 part series. For the first four parts, scroll down, or head to the LiveClareLesleyblog homepage.
5) Seeing your life as a stack of boxes is one of the most horrible but oddly satisfying feelings. I’ve had the allowance of time to assemble all my worldly belongings into a pile. So boxes have been sitting in my living room for about a week, filled with my things. I’ve procrastinated a bit, because I wanted to continue living with my things, and not just staring at a pile of boxes that were ready to be transported to my new space. Its horrifying to look at this stack of boxes and think: everything I am is in these. My life, now, fits into about 30 boxes. Remember grown woman: clothes, shoes, dishes, 8 coffee mugs, art, breadmaker. A year ago, it was twice this much, plus more furniture. The only piece I own now is the rocking chair. Last summer I filled up a quarter of my friend’s living room with my boxes of stuff—as we both agreed that it was silly to rent a storage space when I would be moving again in only a few months, and I would be the only one living there after the first six weeks went by. All summer long I kept looking at my 6’ X 6’ X 10’ tower of belongings. Saddened by “all I had left.” A year later, I’m posting on Facebook like a madwoman about how little I have, delighted by the fact that with four friends helping, this move will take half a day. Maybe the difference of then versus now is that I’ve now moved the things multiple times and felt the sore muscles and the lightened wallet—it cost me $600 for professional movers to move that stack of stuff 80 blocks, less than 10 miles. The second go round, I moved with help from friends but it cost me $200 and a couple of bottles of nice liquor to the friends for helping. The third go round I did in parts and pieces via cab and subway… and was a pain, but I did it myself, not noting the cost. It is oddly satisfying that I can make a home and a life out of a medium amount. (I was about to say “little,” but I have friends who continually live out of suitcases.) Whereas it is a really weird feeling to look at the things I’ve accumulated in a pile, after this year, it is a really nice feeling to know that I’ve only got with me the things that have made the cut—the things I love, or can’t live without, or don’t want to live without. Do I need everything in that pile: probably not. However, I know that I want everything in that pile in my life. At least for now. Until I have to move again. Hopefully, not anytime soon.
I know that everyone is different in their transitions, and everyone has their opinions on how to go about things. So take what you will, and will what you take—use it and share it. Or not. My lessons are mine that I had to learn, and I’m not sure that I’m done learning yet. Maybe you’re ahead of me, and maybe you’re behind me, or maybe you’ll never have to learn these things. The most important thing I’ve learned is just as in any other lessons in life, remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.