If there were one word that sums my life up the last four months it would be “possessions”. New possessions (the new house), old possessions, (the old house), possessions to sort, possessions to sell, possessions to give away to friends and family, possessions to donate and now, possessions to pack. And pack, and pack and pack! I started wondering how a 22 year old who only had a few suitcases to move to Hickory in 1984, now has over 10,000 pounds (that’s two tons!) of possessions to move to Oceanside in 2018. How did this happen?? Have I spent my whole life just acquiring possessions?? I know this isn’t true, I have accomplished a lot of good in my life, but how the hell did we end up with so much stuff??
When we moved to Hickory, I was 22 years old and still living at my parent’s house. I left all my childhood belongings at their home and moved to Hickory with Kevin with his furniture and household items. We moved into a two-bedroom apartment and we didn’t really buy anything until we purchased our first house together in February 1986. Then we just bought the few furnishings we needed for our new home. When we got married in May 1987, we started collecting “our” possessions. Wedding gifts gave us a start to our new life together. We bought our first VCR, had our first set of nice dishes and went on our first real vacation together for our honeymoon.
We only stayed in that house two years, but when we sold it and moved back to Indiana, we had to have a garage to store our possessions in, even though we had a two bedroom townhouse with a loft. In July 1990, we moved into our first home in Fishers. It was actually a little smaller than our house in Hickory had been. We had the attic floored and we were comfortable there. Then, Molly Grace was born, and all of a sudden, we had baby stuff!! Lots and lots of baby stuff! Baby stuff turns into toddler stuff and toddler stuff turns into kid’s stuff. Before we knew it, we had out grown our little ranch. In January 2000, we moved into our current home. Three thousand square feet of stuff!! Yeah us!!
Over the years, possessions have come and gone. When my parents both passed, sentimental possessions ruled. When Molly went to college, four years of moving her possessions back and forth from college became the norm. Then, Molly moved to Louisville. We gave her our old furniture and got new. By then we had three dogs, so lots of dog stuff. I knew we had many possessions, but I wasn’t willing to do anything about it. I liked my “stuff”.
Then, suddenly, we fell in love with San Diego. We knew if we moved there, we would have to downsize greatly. That meant getting rid of a lot of our possessions. Somehow, this didn’t bother me. The desire to move to this beautiful part of the country was more important to me than the possessions we had acquired over the years.
Which is when I started questioning my own values. If I was so eager to part with my possessions to be able to move to my dream home, why had I spent so much time and effort acquiring them? I knew that I needed to sort through EVERYTHING and decide what we should do with it all. We tried to make good decisions; we tried to be generous with others. But I still have this nagging guilt about owning so many possessions. Compared to some, we don’t have much. But compared to a majority of the world, we have much more than our share. As I pack the possessions we are taking with us, I try to appreciate each and every one. Yes, we are blessed. We are lucky to have so much. But I truly see now that through all this time of acquiring possessions, it is the memories that they remind me of that matter. Memories of my parents, memories of special times with my husband and daughter. Memories of good times with friends. I have to say, that when I acquire something now, I am trying to be more mindful of the reason for having the new possession. We are a commercially driven society. Success is what you own!!! But there is a part of me that wonders, was I more fulfilled when I had just those two suitcases and my whole life ahead of me? I hope not. A life well lived is a life filled with good memories. I have so many good memories and I have faith that we will make more in Oceanside!