Letting go

Preparing for an international move is quite a process. For much of my life before I got married I was a student, and moved to a different temporary residence every few years. I was used to living out of a suitcase and discarding or storing whatever didn’t fit into a single room. But since setting up house and having a child, the paraphernalia that goes with family life has complicated everything tremendously.

It makes me realize how much has changed in just the six years since our last move. My son was six when we came to New Hampshire, still playing with toy trucks and stuffed animals. Now it’s a question of transporting his unicycle, his fountain pens and art pencils, and his collection of rocks and minerals (and maybe some of the stuffed animals.)

Right now I’m going through papers and documents, and it’s like excavating ancient history. Even though I did one phase of this already when I got into the KonMari method — at that time I shredded twenty-five pounds of paper! — there’s still so much that I haven’t even touched in six years. A partial list:

  • Negatives from our wedding photos — the last days before digital!
  • A whole file box of material from when I briefly taught eurythmy in a school
  • Wrapping paper, gift bags and boxes from previous birthdays and Christmases waiting to be reused

Looking at these, I realize that they all fall into the category of “I might need this someday.” I might want to reprint these photos … I might teach eurythmy again … I might need to wrap a gift …

Okay, the gift wrap did come in handy at times, but the rest have just been gathering dust for about fifteen years. And I’m so happy to finally let them go. “Someday” is never going to come — or if it does, I will deal with it in that moment. Meanwhile, I have more energy and motivation to focus on my present needs.

The future is a real space that we can stuff full with expectations and assumptions, or leave open to reveal itself in its own time. I wonder what will come into my hands, once I’ve let so many things go?

A Trompe l’oeil of Newspapers, Letters and Writing Implements on a Wooden Board – Edwaert Collier, ca. 1699