Letting go of the material…

My time off work is in its fifth month.

I couldn’t have imagined taking time off like this before. It has been a journey, and often I lack credit to myself for the things I have learned and the shift in mindset I have made.

As we turn our thoughts to leaving, we have yet to start getting rid of things. We are packed in a house surrounded with artifacts and relics of the lives we lived before our son, in his early years, and the years of the pandemic. Among the piles of our past selves we have been cocooned, gestating on our next form, the next life, and the things which we may take with us to build our next nest.

Most of this stuff is going to go. Most of it has no purpose or point aside from gathering dust. I have watches for a wrist which rarely wears one. I have out of date computers and tech from a time when I needed many, or at least thought I did in service to my career. There are trinkets and tchotchkes and a weird tea set which is pretty cool but not anything I will ever use again. There is more alcohol than we can drink, more clothes than we can wear, and more toys than we can ever play with.

Our home is a stockpile of abundance, but that wasn’t what has made us happy. We have been happy when we have had a clear sense of enough. What is the least we need at this moment, in this day? A steady and secure home to live in. Food to eat. A book or two to read. A few personal things which serve often enough to have their own daily place.

What point is there in holding onto clothes we don’t wear, games we don’t play, computers we don’t use, devices long out of date, books we don’t read, dishes we don’t eat from, and countless other things packed in boxes we haven’t opened in years? None of these add to our happiness. With too much, they add to our stress and cost of living.

This isn’t an essay on minimalism. I’m not a minimalist, and I don’t think I could ever be by choice. There is a practical matter of how much stuff you have, especially when you’re about to move. There is a mental aspect of how much you’re keeping track of on your own mental ledger of assets. Those things tucked away in the storage closet downstairs are holding onto some neurons you may require for other things.

While I don’t know what our future life will look like, I know enough about it, and me, to know I won’t need as much. We can start the work of setting ourselves up for that by clearing out some of this old stuff now.

Author: Alex Cox

(He/Him) I am a writer, engineer, leader, and advocate for personal growth, universal harmony, and environmental reform. I believe in open, ethical, and effective government, business, and society, working for everyone's benefit. I bring unique perspectives from my diverse cultural heritage, prior law enforcement experience, and incredible technology career, to projects and creative works.

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