17 July 2010

Mission #40: Give away 202 things

Goal completed on June 21, 2010.

I just sat down to write this blog post about giving away earthly possessions and was hit with a wave of nostalgia: "Demons" came onto my iTunes by Guster. I felt like I was simultaneously moving forward and backward in my life.

I decided to change an old goal to this one around April or May time. Around that time sort of hit me that I'll be making the big move in a year. I was looking around my apartment I realized about 90% of what was in the apartment I couldn't be taking with me across the Atlantic. My options for my possessions would be either buy it again in the UK or live without them.

I decided to live without, so I started to give my stuff away.

A lot of stuff I haven't looked at once since I moved to Stettler. When I started the cull I asked myself, "Do I really need this?" or "Am I really going to miss this?" A lot of the time I answered with "No."

So off it went.

First, I gave clothes to various friends that I knew specifically would appreciate it. Secondly I started leaving toiletries, body lotion, hair products and such in the staff change room at work. Then the rest was dropped off at charity stores. At first I had to say a little goodbye to some of my possessions; they had accumulated sentimental value in the end. My art supplies, my clothes, books, etc. But once I got stuck into the process I forgot about the goodbyes and couldn't get rid of my belongings fast enough.

I was surprised how fast I managed to get to 101 things, and then 202 things (I'm sure I could have managed 303 things). But once I was in that mindset of cleaning up and giving away it was hard to stop just at 202: I'm sure in the end I gave away around 500 items from my apartment.

It's almost been a month since all has been said and done and it kind of surprises me that I don't miss my things. I wouldn't go so far as to say I feel lighter, less burdened, or rid of baggage. But I do feel  a certain freedom of not having all sorts of reminder of good times gone, of missed opportunities, and mistakes. 

But it's funny what songs can do to you. 


Despite having gotten rid of so many visual reminders of people, places, and things (NOUNS!), hearing "Demons" after so many years still brought back those memories. I felt really nostalgic throughout the song and couldn't stop myself from listening to the song twice. 

But this nostalgic incident was far less intense as others. I had too many things to do? I threw out those visual cues to my memories? My life is different from then? Or it's still the same? Or I'm OK with how things were then and how they turned out? I don't know, but these constant feelings of nostalgia make me wonder why I still long for the days of 6 or 8 years ago when I was most unhappiest. I'll probably have to find out what it is about wanting to be 16 or 18 again if I'm going to stop getting caught up in all of these memories. 

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