I got rid of almost everything that I owned. I sold clothes, dishes, furniture, whatever I could get my hands on. I had gone mad. I even put my cars up for sell. Successfully selling one of them.
Looking back now I can see why my co-workers thought I needed an intervention.
In 3 months I went from having enough stuff to fill a 3 bedroom house, dining room and two car garage; to downsizing to a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment, with no dining room and a small storage area.
From duty station to duty station, I packed up more boxes that I would never unpack. I kept buying new items that would look better in each new place, because each new apartment or house was different. Or, I simply forgot what I had at the last home so I repurchased the item instead of looking for it.
When I made the decision to move into a one bedroom apartment in September 2016, for financial reasons, I became overwhelmed with the thought of having to pack and unpack everything myself, and having to find a storage unit and pay for movers to move stuff I didn’t need. It seemed easier to just give it away.
The first item to go was the dining room table. I’m not sure why I choose that first, maybe it just sold faster. When I sold it, I expected to be sad. I had that dining room table since 2009 when I came back from Iraq. I actually prepared myself to feel this rush of emotions. Those emotions never came. I never felt anything. It was a dining room table and I could always replace it. Once I realized that stuff was just stuff, everything started flying out the doors.
I even gave away the dog. It wasn’t a decision I am proud of and I still miss my Jewelz to this day. I know she is happy though. She deserved more than the little bit of time after work I gave her. Now she is with a nice family and she has a backyard. I tell myself she doesn’t miss me and that she is happy. I pray that is true.
In 2017 a pastor preached a sermon about keeping it simple. I don’t remember who the pastor was, but that sermon stuck with me. The pastor referenced the bible verse Luke 9:3. Jesus was addressing the disciples when he told them to take nothing with them. It would only slow them down and become a distraction. I realized that all the stuff I had accumulated was just a distraction. The idea of storing and cleaning all of that stuff distracted me. It took me a whole Saturday to clean that house by myself, and I took shortcuts. A whole day off work being distracted by stuff. I lived in that house for three years, for three years I spent one day each week distracted by stuff.
Almost two years later I still feel light from the lack of having so much stuff. I continue to purge my belongings monthly, to ensure that I don’t fall back into my old ways. Not only do I purge my stuff, but I am also continuously purging my life. Emotions can also become a distraction. If an emotion is unbecoming of who I am trying to be I avoid it. The emotions I am referring to are offended, bitter, shame, guilt and all those other negative emotions that distract us from the goals we set out to achieve.
I refuse to once again allow myself to become distracted by stuff and emotions. I am determined to live a focused life!