…for nothin’ left to lose.
Somehow those words have both haunted and inspired me these last few weeks.
In preparing to live in my van a critical aspect is downsizing and it has been a challenging experience. Logically it completely makes sense; the less I have the less I’m responsible for. The less I’m responsible for the less I have to take care of both in time and maintenance. The less I have to take care of the less it will cost, but cost is relative. While the cost to repair and replace my things is reduced there is an emotional toll that sometimes must be paid, and I am paying it.
I’ve downsized before, quite a few times. I downsized after packing around too much of my own stuff as well as my mom’s after she died but it was voluntary as I was moving and I was very excited to do it. The next time I was forced into downsizing because I became homeless. I found out how quickly I could become overwhelmed so I chose to store everything that I had an emotional attachment to and left most of what I had behind. After getting an apartment, surviving a tornado and then losing the lease on the apartment when it expired I had to downsize once again to move from east coast to west in order to care for my dying father. Now, I’m downsizing his things as well as mine again.
You’d think I’d have the hang of it by now or at least be able to prevent the accumulation but no. It’s been a lifelong habit started early on by my parents and still perpetuated by me in my adult life. Part of it is not caring enough to make that decision of whether to keep something or not. Another part of me struggles with the fear of needing something again and having to pay for it later if I’ve gotten rid of it, a critical decision when on a fixed income. There is also a part of me that is still convinced of the notion that having “stuff” somehow makes one worth more, or shows some kind of idea of being productive. Lastly, I have sentimental attachments I’m afraid to give up. There’s a part of me that feels like I’m giving up a special memory and especially towards my parents all I have left are memories.
I’ll get through this. I read lots of other inspiring stories of van dwellers having downsized and although unique to me what I’m feeling is nothing new. Every item that makes it’s way out of my hands lessens the weight of responsibility I feel and that can only be a good thing.
If you’d like to discuss the issues with downsizing please feel free to join my little discussion board at the “Me Be Like Me Are” forum located at the link at the top of this blog content. Thank you.
Small image from http://cliparts.co/