As I'm preparing for another move into my first experience of home ownership, I have to downsize. A lot. Again.
My last move was somewhat unexpected. I had a tight deadline (less than a week) to go from settled to completely moved out. I didn't have time to purge things. I didn't have the strength, either. I was still processing the end of my relationship and the loss of the happy little nest I had spent 5 years creating.
Though I have had much more time to prepare this time around, I admittedly haven't done well with pacing myself. Now that there's less than 2 weeks left, I realize I've saved about 75% of the work for the last minute. Partly out of procrastination and overwhelm and partly because in my childhood, we moved a lot, and I have a particular aversion to living in a half-packed house for any length of time.
But now, finally, I have no choice to pack. And with the packing and downsizing comes a lot of purging. I'm finding all the domestic treasures I made and/or collected for the house I had with my ex. Two years ago, at my last move, I considered these things precious, invaluable, a symbol of the hope and love I had in my heart. Today, I look at them and only see the burden I felt to create some unrealistic domestic paradise. Trying so hard to be worthy - a woman who could attract the love and commitment of a man, who could keep her home beautiful and cozy, who kept meals on the table, who constructed elaborate holiday traditions, who would one day become a mother (the most worthy creature of all) and continue juggling all these balls, plus night feedings and poopy diapers.
It pains me to see how much I strived back then. How much I've always strived. I aspire toward the domestic perfection I see in the movies. I aspire toward the domestic perfection I see on Martha Stewart. I aspire toward the domestic perfection I see in my friends and family members' lives. It seems like this incredible ideal that lives somewhere "out there" that I have never been able to attain and somehow, reaching for it, moving toward it, directing my energy toward it, has given me some level of comfort in all these years.
But it also set me up for massive disappointments time and time again. And caused me to miss out on the normal business of living - missing connection, missing the opportunity to engage in less stressful events, missing simplicity. Missing the chance to enjoy my life just as it is. Missing the chance to see myself as worthy without all the striving.
As I truck all of these items - supplies from my old business, handmade domestic frills, furniture the ex and I bought together - off to the thrift store, I feel a tinge of sadness and a ton of freedom. I don't know if I can live without striving - it seems to be a default setting within me. But to live with more awareness surrounding that still feels like an improvement.
What might come of letting go of these possessions…and what they were meant to symbolize?