This week we downgraded from our one bedroom apartment to a room that we’re renting. The topic of letting go entered my mind as I was choosing which things to discard.
For our possessions we had three piles. A pile for things we would keep at least through December, a pile for trash, and a pile for donation.
After the dust of sorting settled, the thing that surprised us most was how large our pile of trash was compared to the donation, and keeping piles.
A lot of these things weren’t in good enough condition to donate. Many things hadn’t been used in years, and probably wouldn’t be used in years. When we actually pulled all of this stuff out of the drawers, closets, and cupboards, it was quite jarring to see the amount of stuff that we had. This stuff that isn’t serving any purpose other than to take up space in our home and in our lives.
A few things made me feel emotional as I was discarding them.
Sentiments and History
There was the rug that I’ve used for camping since I was 15 years old. The rug came into my possession during a camping weekend with my best friends Israel and Jason.
We were each able to secure some alcohol for the weekend. The problem was that since none of us could drive, we would need a parent to drop us off and pick us up. We needed to be able to stash the alcohol really good! Israel came up with the rug, and our problem was solved. We rolled everything up in it.
Somehow, after the weekend, the rug stayed in my possession. Over the 25 years since then, that rug has gone to Woodstock 94, Mardi Gras in New Orleans (each long stories in their own right), and has served as an entry mat to my tent on almost every car camping trip I’ve been on since.
I had an emotional attachment to this thing that had been with me for so long, and camped in so many State and National Parks. This thing had outlasted nearly everything I own, and all the partners that have come and gone.
I bowed my head slightly in reverent gratitude at the experiences I’ve shared with it, and then I tossed it in the discard pile.
I felt similar emotions when I tossed my hiking hat. A hat that I’ve had for 15-20 years. A hat that’s kept the sun off of my head as I hiked back country, and other wilderness areas. I put it to my lips, and gave it a kiss before placing it on the discard pile.
These items had served their purpose, and holding on to them would be preventing me from doing what I’m going to do next. I certainly can’t afford storage while I live overseas or travel indefinitely. I don’t want to ship things to, or clutter my parents house.
Besides the things I’m taking with me to Thailand, I only plan on leaving one box of things with my parents. Degrees, photographs, and a few documents and papers, along with some winter clothes.
As all of this was being processed, I also made a mental note to discard any grudges, and feelings towards anyone that isn’t serving me any purpose. Carrying anger or resentment around does nothing towards those we wish it were projected to, and only hinders our own ability to enjoy happiness and contentment.
I asked of myself to let go, and marvel in the experience that I’m going through.
As time goes by, I will need to purge again. We seem to collect and place value on things and feelings that serve us no purpose. Letting go is essential to moving forward.