Above Photo: My Temporary Refuge At The Neighbor’s
“There’s nothing left for me
of days that used to be.
I live in memory
among my souvenirs.”
— Lawrence Wright & Edgar Leslie (Made popular by Connie Francis, Marty Robbins, and Frank Sinatra)
Today has been a very difficult day. I daresay it has been the most difficult day since hatching this hairbrained scheme. I am now officially unemployed and homeless. Oh, and let’s not forget disabled because of Crohn’s Disease.
In a sort of Dickensian irony, for the last seven days I have been living between and among and atop my personal possessions. The ghosts of vacations past, cocktails present, and handbags future have all come home to roost. This is the stuff that weighed me down and kept me stagnant; I already resented it, but to have it excavated from cupboards and cabinets and boxes and nooks and crannies, placed in full view on no less than 25 folding tables – it was excruciating, and also a bit embarrassing. I stepped over and pushed aside and sidled sideways like a hoarder boring a pathway through mounds of (doesn’t) matter.
The new homeowners dropped by on Saturday for a little pre-estate sale shopping. The look on the husband’s face as he took it all in required no words. I queried, “Do you see now why this had to happen?” He nodded mutely. Meanwhile, his wife shopped happily, much to his growing dismay.
Today, the estate sale personnel priced in earnest. I walked through at the end of their workday, a tad disgusted that every treasure, every memory, every moment now bears a monetary value. It feels so crass and cold. I remind myself that every dollar is diesel fuel, but it doesn’t make it much easier to bear.
Also today, I moved into my temporary quarters at my neighbor Barbara’s home. She and her mother Rosemary are so kind to give me respite during this temporary period of homelessness. I am very lucky to have them in my life.
As I sorted and organized a now much smaller set of personal belongings at my temporary shelter, I realized I still have too much shite! I have purged at least three times already, and there is still much more to go.
I am currently reading “the life-changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo. She recommends that you hold each and every item of possession in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. The question is not whether it is still useful, or if might be useful five years in the future, or if it was a gift and you feel obliged to keep it. The only question is – does it make you happy?
This passage in her book really spoke to me: “The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past. … The things we own are real. They exist here and now as a result of choices made in the past by no one other than ourselves. It is dangerous to ignore them or to discard them indiscriminately as if denying the choices we made. … It is only when we face the things we own one by one and experience the emotions they invoke that we can truly appreciate our relationship with them. … If we acknowledge our attachment to the past and our fears for the future by honestly looking at our possessions, we will be able to see what is really important to us. This process in turn helps us identify our values and reduces doubt and confusion in making life decisions. … In other words, the sooner we confront our possessions the better. ” (pp. 183-184).
“A few more tokens rest
within my treasure chest
and though they do their best to give me consolation
I count them all apart
and as the teardrops start
I find a broken heart
among my souvenirs.”