What’s Worth Holding onto When You’re Going Abroad
When I moved back home a month ago I dumped a mountain of boxes into my room and, due to the lack of surface area upon which to sleep, “sublet” my brother’s room for a month since he is working up on campus over the summer. I promised my parents that I would not leave said mountain of stuff at home when I left for India and I promised myself that I would do my very best to downsize my material possessions before my departure so as to minimize the amount of energy and culture shock involved in returning to a lot of stuff after spending a year in India.
Full disclosure, I used to be quite a pack rat. I say used to because I have divested of a great deal over the past 16 months. Last summer I completed a month long cleaning process which included sifting through an inordinate number of papers, notebooks, etc. from grade school and high school. I sold 2/3 of my book collection to Half Price – major accomplishment. I had a hilarious time discovering notes, journals, and other things that held a tie to great times had with friends. Thanks to that extensive disposal process, this my work this year has not been panic-inducing – what is left for the most part are boxes of uncategorized stuff that I was too frustrated to sort through last year, but not quite ready to let go of.
I hold onto things for two reasons:
1) Sentimental Value – If you ever wrote me a meaningful note or designed a really sweet folder with pictures of the cast of Pearl Harbor (Tori), chances are a) I still have it and probably will until I’m 75, or b) I spent a wistful moment smiling at it sometime in the last year before reluctantly letting it slip out of my hand and flutter (in slow motion) onto the recycling bin.
2) This book/article/magazine/paper/pamphlet contains a wealth of knowledge that I have not yet absorbed (I will no doubt make use of it someday in the near future)!
I have learned to let go of books and academic materials more easily after realizing that holding onto so much reading material makes me much less likely to actual read any of it due to the sense of sheer overwhelm. My collection of reading material may explain why I have successfully viewed complete seasons of questionable TV programming online in the past year (e.g. Mob Wives) but haven’t really done a great deal of reading. I have also realized that as cute as customized folders are, what is worth holding onto are the friends who make you those folders and the memories that go with them.
Here are some fun Before and After photos of my bedroom and suitcases. Oh look, a bed and a desk! I hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend and may you be inspired by this post or an upcoming trip of your own to declare independence from one of those unsorted boxes of stuff that is taking up psychic space in your life.