Yesterday and today we are packing up our remaining things and clothes and storing them in our new house across from the new Women's Treatment Center we are starting this month. We have been living in the center while the construction has been underway. When we sold our house last month we took all the furniture and either put it to work at the women's center or gave it away. I did sell one item, but mostly we donated.
I'm sitting next to all the things that will not fit on our RV and it's still a pretty good pile. I'd say it's about 8 moving boxes full of things (that we obviously don't need), many of them boxes of papers, a full double length filing cabinet full of "documents", 6 cubes of toys in a shelf unit, and a good amount of clothes (about 2 boxes each per adult). I haven't included kitchen stuff as we are leaving all our kitchen stuff for the employee kitchen and the RV is going to come stocked with the previous owner's kitchen accoutrement. There are probably about 3-4 boxes of things that we have left behind thinking the staff or residents may want them, but also could be considered more clutter. Did I mention we have a 12 foot bed and frame also that we have to figure out what to do with? I'm both looking forward to and cringing at the thought of sleeping on a twin bed with my 1 year old. Our new home is a "double twin" meaning we are sleeping in the bedroom at the rear of the RV. Lulabelle and I on one side and Jason and River on the other. Our nanny will sleep on the fold out couch. We fly out in the morning to CA to pick it up and drive it back. Sink or Swim.
Getting rid of all our things and moving twice has not been fun, or easy. I've shared in other posts that the emotions tied to my things, whether they are lamentations over sunk costs or attachments for sentimental reasons or both, has been exhausting. I hesitate to mention negative feelings because though I feel a little worn out by it, I'm also gaining a feeling of freedom. I am a wanderer at heart. When I drive through planned communities or even perfectly organic neighborhoods I get a deep feeling of dread in my gut. A resolute "no" comes to mind and I say a prayer to the travel Gods to never, ever, let me end up in one of these "prisons." That may sound extreme to some. To me, suburbia is where dreams (of mine) go to die. I imagine myself gossiping with neighbors, talking about the next time we're going to the pool, or lamenting about HOA fees and I want to throw up a little. Just, for me, I don't think this is how people (human animals) are meant to live. I want to go to the mountains, then the sea, then the desert, then the jungle, then chill out by a lake and then help out on a community farm etc...To me at this point, these houses, they are another kind of clutter. They slow us down. They make us accumulate. Like Stuart Wilde says "they have the energy of a slug in a puddle."
I understand I must be some kind of alien at this point. I listen to people talk about TV shows, and social media, and internet things. And sometimes buried underneath there is real concern for their families, for their own sense of self and their purpose...sometimes. Sometimes I want to shout "none of this stuff matters! What about feeding the poor, healing the sick, or understanding a culture other than your own! The corporations have stolen your brain and your life! They are feeding off of you slowly with every new outfit or gadget you buy." But usually I just smile and nod and move on. Because there's a big difference between good information and advice, and nobody wants advice. Changing others is a losing game for both parties. The change has to be an inside job. Someone has to see something and think to themselves "I want that. What that other person is DOING, I'd like to do that too." That is why attraction instead of promotion works the best for change. I inherently understand that I am writing about this, thus "promoting" some kind of change. However, I'm a mere internet blogger, take what you want and leave the rest. Some will find value in what I say, and others will find its not for them.
I "ahem" borrowed my mother's Netflix for a moment yesterday and finally watched "The Social Dilemma" as many have by now. It was pretty compelling. It told me a lot of what I already suspected. I know I have been hijacked and yet I still continue to feel left out if I don't use social media to some extent. I am especially enthralled with YouTube and all the videos that have been preparing me for our RV adventure. I have been consuming videos out of the fear of the unknown. The truth is I would learn all about it simply by doing it too. I will ask for help when needed (inevitable truth). I will learn more simply by being patient and doing the task that is in front of me or asking a person who has had the experience in real life. Because ultimately that is how I learn best, by doing. There was a whole, functioning world before social media and the internet. I'm not saying it was better, but maybe some things were. I wouldn't presume to boil the entire internet down to "good" or "bad". I think it's more complicated than that, and either way, I don't think we are going back.
My interest in minimalism and living with less has been to figure out what makes me happy (content is a better word, and more realistic I think). I keep getting rid of the stuff and I can tell so far, that it isn't in the stuff. I am still working on my anxiousness and FOMO. I do know I'm happier without TV. Getting lost in the occasional movie is fine, but everyday, it makes me miss too much. I miss too many conversations with my husband and my kids, too many tickle sessions with my girls, and too many walks in the neighborhood with the dogs. Being connected to my devices leaves me with less connection to my life or to any life in general. I have written about it before but, the "why" behind my compulsion to scroll Instagram or watch endless episodes on Netflix has a lot to do I'm afraid with my own development. I was raised on TV. So without it, my brain is at a loss. I have only now, in my late 30s begun to really develop the more creative, "doing" side of myself. And it has been hard, physically, for my mind. I'm very prone to uncomfortable emotions when I am not distracted and I believe this is due to the fact that my brain was "hijacked" from a very young age. I'm working at unraveling the discomfort and sitting with it, but I want to say, I do not blame anyone who is addicted to anything. I know it is not a conscious choice. Changing your subconscious patterns of relating to the world is slow and painstaking. At least that has been my experience. But ultimately my life has been richer for letting go of the digital world, one teeny bit at a time. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm hoping to discover all the richness of the world, live and in person. Hope you join me. Amen and Happy Trails.