Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Count Down to the Yard Sale
On one side is my hoarding tendency. Since I grew up poor and always felt "less than" others because I was never prepared, I have this desire to make up for it. I don't want just ONE pair of shoes. I want forty pairs. The right pair for every occasion that might come up. I don't want ONE bottle of lotion. I want twenty bottles, enough bottles to last a lifetime so I will never feel this inner sense of lack again. It is stupid. Who wants to carry around all the lotion they will ever need the rest of their lives or all the shoes they will ever wear? It just ties a person down so the things become more important than the experiences. It is impossible to be free to run around having new experiences when you are carrying a bunch of things.
The other extreme is this desire to just chuck it all, to have nothing, to be free. I keep thinking of packing my small carry on bag and taking off for Guatemala from here instead of shopping for clothes and packing my two huge suitcases with all the clothing I think I might want or need for this next year. As I have said many times, it is too hard to try to buy clothing in Mexico. The stores are very expensive and the second hand clothing is just old Goodwill stuff from here at high prices.
One time in Mexico I met a woman who had been traveling around the world for fifteen years with nothing but a backpack. She was wonderful. She was loving and open. When we walked down the street together, many people talked with her. She had lots of friends. Maybe because she had her priorities straight. She never shopped because she couldn't carry anything else around with her. She had few worries because she had nothing to worry about. So she was totally available to everyone she met. I will never forget that woman. Of course I have forgotten her name but not her style. (I was only with her for a couple of hours.) I wish I could be that free. As long as this fearful side of me has something to say about what happens, I won't ever be like that. I will continue to believe that if I have the right STUFF then my life will be in control. I guess it is a lot about control.
Thinking about it in those terms, I realize that we have so little control over our lives. It is a myth that physical objects can bring us anything of value in this world. Objects come into our lives and they go. As I am getting ready for this yard sale I am going through all my ex-mother-in-law's things. I knew her almost all of my adult life until she passed away a few months ago. And during that time I thought her life was happier and better than mine, mostly because she had money and things around her. She was always showing me her beautiful things and I always reacted with envy. I could have any of those things now. They are in the garage, ready to be sold for pennies on the dollar. I don't want them. They mean nothing without her. Now I see that it wasn't the things I envied. It was her spirit that infused those things with meaning. It was her spirit that kept her family around her. Loving her. Maybe through those forty three years of divorce from her son, my ex, I really wanted him to cherish me as much as he cherished his mother. Maybe, in the end, being cherished is all that matters. And of course, cherishing others. We all know this but I will say it again. We come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. So what choices do we make in between?
I don't have any answers here. I just have questions. What is the meaning of my life? Where do I go from here? And how much freedom am I willing to sacrifice in order to take the THINGS along with me? What THINGS are worth that sacrifice? When will this yard sale business ever end?