I'm leaving for Liverpool in 7 days. That is a sentence that is both wonderfully exciting to me and terrifying. I am excited to finally be going and to stop talking about going but there are also many things I will miss about home. Many of my friends will have big life events that will happen without me and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't sad about missing them. But this is not a post about that.
This is a post about how difficult it is to pack you life in 2 suitcases. Because y'all it's challenging.
How are you suppose to take your books? Everything I have read about living out of a suitcase or moving to Europe says to leave them and buy new ones. But that seems very impractical and I have done my best to pare down my books to only a select few but as a recovering academic that is a very hard task. I am struggling with this tremendously.
Life would be easier if I was Merlin
The major point of my trouble, however, is that like many others I often feel very attached to my possessions and letting go of them has been more challenging than I originally anticipated. I keep thinking of myself as the rich man from chapter 19 of Matthew The man who struggles to give away those things which bring him joy in order to perfect his following of Christ. Or perhaps a more accurate interpretation for myself is that I struggle to leave or give away things that have at one point brought me joy but which no longer do. I look at these items and reminisce about my experiences with them and then want to keep them or bring them with me, even though I know I will not touch in England.
Because my parents may move while I am abroad they have encouraged me not to use their house as storage for very many things. So it really does feel like I am attempting to pare my entire life down to 2 suitcases. My parents will store some things but when I come home what I do own won't even fill half a small u-haul trailer, let alone a truck. The experience has had many rewarding moments, and not only because I am selling many of my things. Getting rid of stuff feels very freeing to me. It reminds me of just how much I do not need and in a world where we are continually told about the impact our consumption has on the world (i.e. global warming, and the impact on the poor both in and outside our country) riding yourself of excess is kinda radical. Especially, when you are not just throwing things out but by finding ways to reuse, upscale or recycle.
But there are hard decisions to be made too. Things you debate about getting rid of because what if the person who gave it to you asks about it? What if that person is no longer around and while you don't really use the item (or even like it) that person will never get you something new? My relationship with stuff, and I would assume at least one other person is with me, is often a delicate negotiation of guilt and shame. Guilt and shame about the amount of things I own that I attempt to alleviate by getting rid of things I don't use and my attempt to avoid the guilt and shame that comes from being labeled ungrateful by getting rid of things that others may have given us.
I want to have a great conclusion about how to overcome this but the truth is I don't have one. It's a negotiation with every item I own. Some take longer than others but ultimately you make a judgement call. Let's just hope I can fit everything in.
And that I don't end up with stowaways