Buried In Stuff

When I had planned my trip to Asia, I had assumed that I would be moving back to San Francisco after a year. While preparing to leave, I had to get rid of most of my belongings—pretty much all of which went to the Salvation Army, or on to the street corner in front of my place. However, I figured I would be returning, so I wanted to keep a few “essentials” for restarting in SF. I left boxes and boxes full of things that I thought I would want for a new apartment. Luckily I had friends who were nice enough to hold on to my stuff for me, so I would have things to get started when I returned.

It’s clear now that I will not be moving back to San Francisco any time soon, and that all that “stuff” still needs to be dealt with. A couple of weeks ago I rented a minivan and drove down to the Bay Area to collect everything I’d left behind. It turned out to be a LOT of stuff actually. Some of the items I kept make sense, like my pots and pans, computer monitor, etc., but I look at some things and wonder “what the hell was I keeping that for?” What I once thought of as the “essentials”, turn out to not be essential at all after living for a year and a half with just enough stuff to fit into my backpacks. It feels overwhelming to have so many “things”, and it’s not really a pleasant feeling. For the first few nights after I had unloaded all my boxes into the garage here, I would wake up in a panic thinking “what am I going to do with this,” or “how will I sell that?”

At this point I feel much better having less “stuff”, and I don’t want to be weighed down by personal possessions any more. I felt much more freedom when I had just the things I could carry. It’s a comfort to think that I can pack up everything I own at any moment and be on a plane to anyplace I wish. Now I feel like I’ve got a huge anchor around my neck in the form of a big pile of boxes, snowboards, guitars and various other items in the garage. So now I begin the task of processing all things I’ve been holding on to and getting them out of my life. Of course it’s not going to be easy—many of the things I held onto, I kept for sentimental reasons, but that’s something I’ll just have to deal with.