Posted by J Tower on Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Pray, for what do we move ever but to get rid of our furniture...
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I've been reminded of Thoreau's Walden a lot recently as we've been going through our possessions trying to decide which we want to get rid of, which we want to store, and which we want to take with us on the trip. What's surprised me the most about the process is how much easier it is to get rid of things when you imagine literally dragging it around the country with you in a small RV.
As I've considered it, it's occurred to me that, in a less literal way, we all are towing our stuff around with us. Our stuff can weigh us down. Our stuff breaks. Our movies are in the "old" format so we have to re-buy them all. Our electronics we bought to make our lives easier sometimes do the opposite.
Don't get me wrong, though. This is not an anti-stuff post. I enjoy my creature comforts and luxuries as much as the next guy--my marathon-length hot showers, my gadgets, my love for high-quality entertainment--but sometimes, to paraphrase my man Biggie, more stuff means more problems. I'm reminded of someone I overheard complaining about their secondary refrigerator breaking down--the one they used for soda and beer--and how much it would cost to fix. I think of how my house and yard seem to be actively trying to disintegrate and return to dust, and it makes me wonder if sometimes people with a vacation home ever feel like owning two constantly disintegrating homes is more trouble than it's worth.
I used to really let the inevitable problems of owning stuff get to me. In that period of my life, I participated in my part of some epicly bad customer service calls. Fortunately, I have a wife who cares about me enough to lovingly show me how to let some of that go and set my expectations differently. I now am usually able to hope for the best while knowing that the world will fail to meet expectations at times. Though I'm much better at it now, I still find it difficult sometimes (I'm looking at you, Comcast).
This past Saturday, we we went through the closets in the basement, I found our old, broken DVD player. I have no idea what state of mind I was in when I decided we should keep it and store it long-term, but I guess I was not quite ready to say goodbye at that time. It's amazing, though, how clarifying it was to picture moving it to storage, paying to store it for a year, and then moving it back into the basement closet OR finding room for it in the RV. In that light, I immediately saw what needed to happen, and I'm happy to report to you, dear reader, that it is gone from my life.
We are starting to see more clearly which possessions we own, and which own us. We are also getting a glimpse of which possessions are truly making our lives better, and which are just weighing us down. It's been so freeing finding ways to not drag those possessions around with us--literally and figuratively--that we wish the same for everyone.
If it helps, picture trying to find space for it in an RV. It seems to be working for us!