One by one, lots of the little things I own have been frogmarched into a big pile, ready to be identity paraded so that their mugshots will accompany their biographicals online as they are sold off. The last thing to be sold will be my bed. Partly because I need it to sleep on, but even more importantly because of what its loss will represent.
It’s a funny thing, adjusting my life. I had absolutely no clue how much junk I’d accumulated until I started trying to collect and get rid of it. If you’d asked me before I bought it, whether I would have the space to store so many random things, I would have laughed at the impossibility. Instead, I now find that I have, among other oddness, two printers. Who has two printers?
But it’s going. All of it. Not needed for where I am going, these things are superfluous. The junk you own that ends up owning you. Yet knowing this intellectually doesn’t make the disposal of so much of the things I own any easier. Something about it makes me uneasy, an uneasiness I have being trying hard to peer into, to understand recently. I won’t miss the printer. Or the extra camera bag, or other trivial things. But the bigger things. Like my bed. I’ll be sad to see it go.
Not because I will be sleeping on the floor, or a couch (until that goes). No, it’s something deeper. It’s because losing so much of the stuff around me means losing my sense of place. Part of why moving home is supposed to be so stressful is because I am displaced, taken away from the markers around me which I base my routines on. The bathroom I wander into each morning, the couch I lay on reading (never in the right position- always length-ways) and the bed I woke up in each morning.
I am more than the things I own. This I know. But more than being simple owned objects, these things comprised the space in which I am.
I am more than the things I own. This I know. But more than being simple owned objects, these things comprised the space in which I am. While traveling to Cairo ensures that I will leave my space for an exciting, challenging period, the gradual loss of stuff means I will never be able to return to this space again. Slowly, piece by piece, it slips away until – the night I finally go out into a warm African evening – there will be absolutely nothing left of my space except me.
That final night remains distant still and there is much to be donated, sold or tossed until it comes. The day my bed finally goes though, will be the milestone after which only the fragments of this space will remain, clinging as things change faster and faster. No longer possessing their power to comfort me any more than the places I am about to see will. Together familiar. As remnants only foreign reminders of a space that was.
There will be new spaces, in new places. Markers of a new life and lives beyond that. But for now, the inevitable process of reducing this space to only myself and the pack I will be carrying has begun.