A car, a job, and a home – those are the three things that have been a big part of our lives until recently.
Was it hard to leave these behind? Some were surprisingly easier than expected, and others are harder than they should.
Easier than expected – our jobs
Quitting our jobs turned out to be a lot easier than we both had expected. Of course we were nervous about quitting our jobs, the idea of not having a steady stream of income was something that took (and still does) getting used to.
But the timing was right: we both worked for the government and with the congress and the senate still squabling over budgets (NASA had been under continuing resolutions for 2 months then), all of the projects were feeling the squeeze. We also felt like we’ve contributed as much as we could to the place, staying any longer would’ve meant being stagnant.
And then, there’s something else…
There’s a line from Naomi Duguid during her interview with Legal Nomads that resonated with me and I think described our feelings pretty spot on:
It wasn’t a pushed out feeling, it was a pulled-in-by-the rest-of-the-world feeling.
I don’t think I can put it more eloquently than that. It was exactly how we felt.
In the end, it was the accumulation of all of these feelings and it just felt right. It made it easy.
Harder than it should – our stuff
We would never be minimalists. We like our stuff. Even though we don’t buy things we don’t need (most of the time), those that we do own we feel a very strong attachment to. I don’t think we are attached so much to the idea of ‘owning’ as much as to the memories that these items represent.
I’m afraid that without these items as anchors, the memories associated with them with float away and disperse into nothingness.
I treasure these memories — and I’m afraid that by getting rid of our stuff, the associated memories will get pushed back, forgotten, and replaced with the new ones and I’ll never get them back. Everyone knows I’m forgetful enough as it is.
Do you know what I mean?
Some of the stuff I was particularly attached to I had to get rid of:
Our Subaru Outback
Oh, so many memories we have as a couple feature the Sube in them. It’s the first car we bought as a couple. It has provided as with shelter when caught under an unexpected snowstorm in Death Valley. It has taken us down nasty potholed roads and it has braved the sleet and ice on our winter jaunts to Yosemite.
We’re so glad the car went to our co-worker. In a way it feels like it has not left us.
My ‘Sound by the Sea’ orange T-shirt
Dubbed ‘The most comfortable t-shirt ever’, I wore this t-shirt every single day during our 6 week backpacking trip to Europe. I think for 2 years, 70% of my pics have me wearing this t-shirt. Bought on sale for $2 from Eagle Outfitter, it is now worn to the threads and you can’t even see the writing on it anymore.
It crossed my mind to take it with us, but it has been stretched out by too many washing cycles that it’s started to look more like a dress.
It was sad to say goodbye, but again, it felt like it was the right time.
Then there are my art books, my ice skates that I’ve had since the 8th grade, our beautiful living room rug… they were all really hard to get rid of.
Stuff We’re Keeping
There are of course items that we simply couldn’t make ourselves to give away. Like our lapel pin collection and photo albums.
Jack also insisted on keeping most of the stuff he feels quite attached to so. In fact, we had a huge argument over the amount of stuff he likes to keep. Things like his old soccer cleats, his ‘batik’ clothing collection, and…
Bowl and Spoon
A man of habit, Jack eats his oatmeal breakfast with using Bowl and Spoon without fail every single morning. It won’t do with just any bowl or any spoon. Oh no, they won’t do.
It has to be steel cut oatmeal, prepared in just the right way in Bowl, eaten with Spoon (yes, that’s how we refer to them as in ‘Jill, where’s Spoon?’. Except for weekends. Weekends are for bagels and eggs.
Ed note: Spoon to be missing in the move much to Jack’s distress.
I’m surprised he hasn’t insisted on packing these items along to take around the world with us, or maybe he just hasn’t thought of it.
It’s funny the things we’ve grown attached to and emptying up our apartment has triggered so many memories that hadn’t surfaced before. We’d be lying if we didn’t get a little emotional saying goodbye to our then-empty apartment.
But life goes on and this chapter of our life has closed behind us and a new one is open and waiting to be written. We’re creating rooms for more memories – and since I’m taking my other favorite t-shirt (dubbed ‘The Second Most Comfortable T-shirt. Ever.’) with me on this trip, I have hopes that soon, the pain of losing my ‘Sound by the Sea’ t-shirt will fade away.
So, what now?
Our stuff that have not been either ‘loaned’ to friends, sold, or donated (including Bowl and Spoon) are going to stay with Jack’s mom until we can get them back.
We actually won’t be leaving for Colombia (the first stop in our RTW journey) until April 18th. Until then, we’re spending time with relatives and if the weather holds, we are heading off to Yosemite for some climbing.