I just sold G’s crib. My first baby’s sleeping place. The crib that I spent hours researching, finding the best available product that fit in with the style of our home. It was a contemporary, clean lined style. Solid mahogany wood with a deep stain and no visible hardware. It was beautiful to the eyes. And I just sold it. I also let go of the down filled chair that I had custom upholstered to make the most comfortable place to nurse my baby. I scoured baby stores to find the best deal, enjoying the process of filling up G’s room with pleasing things and making it into a simply elegant, peaceful retreat. The chair sat below the wooden car mobile that we reached up and played with. The memories are sweet.
But, it’s all gone.
After living in Central America for the past 2 years, we have come back to the states to sell the rest of our possessions. Two years ago we sold most of our stuff and moved from Colorado to Costa Rica. But we kept ‘big’ things. We stored these ‘big’ items, like furniture, mattresses and other personal stuff for ‘just in case’ insurance: Just in case living abroad was not working out. We could then move back and have all the stuff that would be expensive to buy again.
But, it’s all gone.
Aside from a few key pieces of artwork, there was surprisingly not much that I had the tugging need to keep, even my beloved All-Clad cookware has a new home in someone else’s kitchen. We love living abroad and don’t plan on returning to the US yet, so we have no need for these things and we let them go at crazy low garage sale prices.
I thought it’d be more difficult. In fact, I wrote the following in anticipation of the feelings I thought I was going to have.
- “So, why is it so difficult to let it go, when, for two years, I didn’t miss it at all?” It turns out, it wasn’t difficult to let go.
- “How do you let go of one life that was so good in so many ways and keep living this newly created life that is so good in so many ways?” Well, this new life has no room for the old stuff. We hold so tightly to the things we have that we are no longer are able to reach out and grasp the new…experiences that would change us…fill us up. If I kept my hands full of the past, I could never fill them with the present and look forward to the future.
I expected a paralyzing feeling of my possessions being ripped from me, but instead I received a warm feeling of release. I have the photos and memories of how joyful picking out all the items was. I know how darn comfortable the down filled chair that I spent hours nursing my baby felt on my bottom.
I remember fondly those times, but I am SO enjoying the present that the past is, well, passed.
I have no use for those items anymore. Our current chosen lifestyle takes us to new locations with our interests and desires. We don’t want to be loaded down with having to sell things in order to experience more. We move every 6 months or when the eagerness strikes our fancy. All of our possessions fit into 2 suitcases and 2 carry-ons. Bye Bye stuff, Hello Freedom!
Bye Bye, Ego
Then I realized that all this stuff wasn’t just sentimental in nature, but it also was deeply inter-weaved with my sense of self, my ego. I enjoyed having beautiful things. I’m very visual and I enjoyed the lines, colors and beauty of the things I chose to see everyday. I also enjoyed receiving compliments on those things. A little ego burst that all my ‘research’ and scrutiny of making sure that no bolts were seen on the crib I eventually bought was noticed. Ahhhhhh, like a little pat on my back.
This selling of stuff is more than just letting go of the physical, it’s letting go of the emotional and mental stuff that has an attachment to my ego.
It’s stepping out completely from all that I’ve grown up knowing, acquiring and practicing for much of my life.
Now is a new life, a new way to live.
A part of me has always known this new life in spirit, but social conditioning is strong. Following your own path can be arduous in the face of conformity. People question you, they try to convince you that you’re wrong, then they make up reasons for your decisions and believe those reasons and some even stop being friends with you. C’est la vie!
Living the life that society has trained me to live and now living this polar opposite life of letting it all go to travel and live life on our own terms is contradictory. Society markets that my stuff, my style, my house define who I am. And it did, but it doesn’t anymore.
Do things and money make us happy? The answer is sometimes, but it’s not a deep down sustainable happiness.
I still appreciate nice things, but I don’t need them. They don’t define me. My ego is not attached.
Bye Bye Fear
And then I thought about why we really kept those things. I realized that Fear is what made us hold on to those things. A fear that things wouldn’t work out in Costa Rica. A fear that we made a mistake. The fear of having to pay for that stuff again. The fear of not having nice things anymore. It was Fear. It was our “What if?” insurance. But, Fear doesn’t encourage, it doesn’t celebrate. It steals and belittles. It was the fear of letting go our comfortable ‘old life’.
The biggest ‘thing’ I let go was my ego, which I thought was pretty small. Ego is fear, I understand that now. It really doesn’t help you move forward, so I let it go.
Carry less weight
The one thing you learn traveling long term is how little the material things we surround ourselves with actually matter and how much you think you may need them, but you actually don’t. We learn to get by with little and learn to be perfectly fine with it. We enjoy the freedom of mobility and lightness.
We realize that if all the stuff that we had in storage burned, we wouldn’t miss it that much. Life is meant to be lived in the present, not the past. And our stuff, all the mementos we keep around the house, are the past.
The bottom line is that the more I let go of the things in the present, past and future that I think I need, the more I am giving myself a choice of which direction I want to go, simply because I’m carrying less weight, literally and figuratively.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”
What about you?
What can you release to get you closer to achieving your dream?
P.S. To my best friend, Nicole, for letting us commandeer your beautiful home for two weeks and have 3 garage sales to rid ourselves of all this stuff. You rock!