Behind The Abstersion

Some people may call it downsizing.  Others may define it as cleansing.  Others may view it as purging.

Regardless, the more one desires to travel this world, the more one needs to reduce the quantity of material goods, lighten the load, and unload the weighted baggage that ties us and grounds us to a single place.

At first it’s a smaller apartment, now it’s a smaller life.

What do these objects mean to us, and what does it say about us when we are willing to leave them behind?

 

  • No Room In My World

    Thirty-Three

    Over the course of thirty-five years of my adulthood, I have taken up residence at a new address thirty-three times.  Despite my extensive experience, moving still sucks, whether you’ve done it once, or dozens of times. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve rented a fleet of box trucks (see Christmas On The Move from December 2021), I’ve strapped box springs to the roof of my SUV more than once, and I’ve stacked my household goods in enough storage units (see Storage Units from June 2021) to claim three metal walls and a rolling door as my second home.  I’ve collected cardboard boxes with such frequency that sometimes I just hang on to them for next time. There’s always going to be a next time.

    With certainty, I own far fewer personal possessions than I did fifteen moves ago. In theory, this lightens my load, and the subsequent unload, but it also means that during the first half of the process, I may place an object in a box that won’t accompany me to my final destination.  I’ve sold kitchen tables and bunkbeds.  I’ve donated my entire business wardrobe. I’ve bought three or four washer and dryer sets – I’ve actually lost exact count.  I do know I owned none of them for more than a few years.  It’s probably not surprising that I’ve spent three and a half decades exhausted.

    Substance

    As I have downsized, I have made tough choices (see Downsizing from November 2017) about every object I own. And then with the next move, I make every one of those choices again.  When I leave an object behind, I weigh the need I will have for the object at my next residence. When I move expeditiously, I weigh the weight, the mass, and the volume.  Despite my affinity for an object, I have to let it go, even when I’d rather not.  I don’t forget them, I just don’t get to keep them.  If I must choose between knives and forks and spoons versus punch bowls and stuffed animals, I will get to spend the rest of my lifetime remembering them whenever I unload the flatware from the dishwasher.

    For a single Mom, only on a handful of occasions did I receive beautiful bouquets.  Even more rare, would their girth warrant a remarkable receptacle, and I received exactly one.  Sculpted like a green glass Grecian urn, I packed and secured its fragility repeatedly.  The collection of wine corks I stored in it since the flowers’ demise served more useful in padding other necessities than remaining on display in my lovely vase.  It offered my home a sense of style represented in few other objects, and between two of the thirty-something moves, substance superseded style. I remember that vase every time I pull another wine cork out of its bottle and drop it into an unremarkable container.

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