Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day

It's July 4th and I'm at my office on campus. But strangely enough this is a sign that I am independent and free. To some degree. I don't have a job, Snork Maiden is 150 miles away, and the rest of my family half way around the world. So today is as good a day as any to continue working on sorting and packing stuff for the move to Australia. So far I have been working on recycling, trashing, giving away, or deciding to keep. Haven't actually packed anything yet. But I think that will be next as it is getting harder to decide on what to give away and so I should pack stuff I really want to keep next and eventually zigzag into the grey area. Letting go of things can be hard. There are books that I've had twenty years - they're not useful to me now, probably they are in a library somewhere, so rationally I should let go of them. But when I look at them I remember the times and places were I was using them. This in my mind is connected to the Buddhist idea that "attachment" and clinging is a (or the) source of suffering. We realize that things are impermanent and we need to move on through life but still want to hold onto the past. Many people are too afraid to make changes and don't move on and stay stuck in suboptimal situations. But many who move on suffer from the giving up of the old. I have let go of a lot of things in life and now sometimes don't start new things because I know I'll need to let go. Sometimes this is good as those things are unnecessary and sometimes it's bad because I miss out on things that could be worthwhile. This move to Australia involves giving up many old things and starting new ones too. One part of me wants to be very radical and give up most of my "stuff" as well as my involvement in academia. The other part wants to hold on to the most possible. In the end I am going to compromise somewhere in the middle. My personality type likes to keep options open as well as explore new alternatives - to make radical moves slowly.


Madame X said...

Books can be the hardest thing to let go of, at least for me! And yet it's true, you can surely find them in a library somewhere...
I do periodically thin out my book collection to keep it boiled down to what's most important to me, and I regularly get rid of other possessions such as clothes I don't wear, because I do enjoy the feeling of letting go and somehow lightening my load of "stuff."

Anonymous said...

I have done the opposite (tossed lots and lots of stuff with each move) and now regret throwing away many things.

(they were sentimental things).

But each person is different, and books are so heavy that's a real hard one to decide which to really keep.

Guess I didn't really help!