Sunday, May 18, 2014

Goodbye, Hello

What's left.

For people who supposedly "got rid of everything" last year to live a life on the road, we still had lots of stuff. Our stalwart and kind friend, Mark, let us keep it in his garage. Who knew what our nomadic ways would lead to? Maybe we'd return to Northern California to nest again. Maybe our traveling ways would turn out to be merely a migration.

And now we are owners of almost nothing.

We have Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, our blue Subaru. Two suitcases of clothes. A mermaid costume. Shampoo. Skis. A partially-built casita in Mexico. And a few boxes of kitchen stuff for when we head down there.

It's the first time in my life that I haven't owned mountains of books--or boxes of old letters, journals and photos.

I have one task: To finish sifting through the last box of journals.

I started keeping a diary in third grade. So many words on thousands of pages! I'm taking pictures of some of the pages I want to "keep"--and tearing out one here and there, stashing them in a file. Then I thank that journal and release it into the recycle bin.

It's been a time-traveling experience for Dave and me as we've revisited all these things that have been with us for so many years. It's been profound, bittersweet and freeing as we've let go of everything: each letter, picture, object.

So many people's lives have touched mine in 51 years. As I read, I accept it all, bless it all: Words written to me (and by me) that are funny, kind, compassionate, perturbed, unsettled, angry, joyous, reconciling, affectionate, informative. All of it meant to connect. All of it is part of who I am today.

It somehow feels like the natural order to release these things on the heels of having finished my memoir. 

The memoir.

Every goodbye is a hello. At the yard sale, friends and former students dropped by. Since we've been mostly away from the Bay Area for a year, it was lovely to see everyone. We also met a bunch of Mark's neighbors.

Most everyone left with an object, a piece of us. I love how people are weaving into their lives bits of ours.

By the end of the day, when almost everything was gone, people stood around chatting and drinking cold beer, while little kids--wrapped our feather boas and Mardi Gras beads--raced around the lawn.

We stuffed the remaining odds and ends into boxes on the curb. I posted them for free on Craiglist, and within an hour a woman hauled them away in her truck.

In the release of the old, space is created for the new. What's up next, world?


winterizing said...

This post was inspirational to me. I needed motivation and as I read this, it occurred to me how weighted down I am by stuff. I'm not going to lead a gypsy life, but I've been contemplating emptying book cases of not only books, but journals and massive amounts of paper and stuff, I thought I might want to reference SOMEDAY! So silly. Especially for someone who fancies she's like to live more in the moment. So I'm starting today and I want to thank you for the words that helped me "get it."

Unknown said...

I agree with the post above: this is inspirational to me, also! At a time when I am moving my life across the country, and when we are making decisions about what to keep and what to donate, throw away, give to friends in need, I really needed to read this. The decisions you guys have made are truly amazing. It takes strength, creativity, a positive perspective, TRUST in yourselves, and HUMOR to do what you guys are doing. I absolutely love it!