Even souvenirs that I had held on to for years.
I got rid of a lot. At first I went through things slowly, carefully filtering what to keep and what not to keep.
And then we moved. At first the pile of boxes slowly diminished and then when all of the unpacking was done, there was still more to do. Eventually, some of what was unpacked was repacked for the tip/recycling/charity shops. What began as a slow stream became a raging torrent.
Contemplating that months before gave me some anxiety: how can I get rid of that? Where am I going to put that? How can I live without that?
But when you are in the middle of a change it gets easier.
It is challenging though: I have become wary of very wealthy people in big houses and secure finances talking about how we don’t need possessions to define us, who at the same time seem unwilling to part with what they have. My educated middle-classness was (and still is) defined by what I have accumulated and held on to. At 49, as I was then, you have a tacit expectation of stability, security and mortgages paid off and you become defined by what you have. Getting rid of large amounts of that and having little financial stability threatens all of that: Who am I? What will I be? Why am I somehow ‘different’ than my peers?
At times the process went:
I can’t move.
This is too hard.
And then, slowly and fleetingly, yet the frail flame of faith is always guttering and threatening to be blown out:
I can move.
We can do this.
We are doing this.
The financial stability, 3 years down the line, has not yet come, but the feeling of release and freedom has; I haven’t missed much of what I’ve let go. And with that freedom, comes openness: what shall I be? Where will we go next?
It is always hard and yet easier to get rid of what can can never hold on to for ever: I don’t think that you find Grace without it…