When you make the decision to move cross-country one of the things you will have to accept is that you will not be able to take everything with you. In my case, this meant downsizing seventeen (yes — 17) YEARS of belongings, mostly on my own, with six kids to help.
Even if everything you owned was important to you, the reality is that without an employer shouldering the cost of the move, you could spend out-of-pocket thousands and thousands of dollars. It took quick math to figure out that we really didn’t even own anywhere close to that dollar value. After deciding, packing, sorting…we ended up getting rid of almost our entire house.
It’s hard to undertake such a big project and not, in the end, feel like you may have lost, misplaced, or forgotten something. I laughed my way through a lot of the process — not a ha-ha funny laugh, but a manic, crazy, panicked laugh — my home is my safe spot. Every day was a constant and chaotic disruption of that space.
I tweeted through this process, sharing pics during the
days, that turned into weeks that turned into months as we waited for our house to sell. I sold things on Craigslist, gave lots to Goodwill, & even had a garage sale.
A one day garage sale, then a two-day garage sale, then a three-day garage sale. A three-day garage sale that then turned into my asking random neighbors going on walks with their families if they wanted anything in my driveway. Like a reverse bum.
I realize that most of it must have looked like a few scenes out of Hoarders but only one room was really horrible — my sunroom/office. As my best friend @antigen10 likes to remind me — “it’s like a piece of you just went to die in there” — harsh but true. After three brutal years of illness, stress, foreclosure, mess, joblessness, etc. — I was lost. What a perfect place to try and hide it all: the room where the sun should have been shining in.
Not all who wander are lost — I truly believe this saying. But I also believe that almost all who wander eventually have to be found. That’s only a small portion of what this experience has been like for me — I didn’t think twice about losing, forgetting, or misplacing any of the things we got rid of when we were trying to empty our home. I spent so much time focusing on the goal — getting out of there so we could start with a clean slate somewhere else. It’s only now, that I’ve had some time to think — that I can truly reflect on some of the things that I’ve lost and can begin to fill those spaces with what I’ve found.