"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I think I'm doing things a little backwards.

Because from looking around, the marks of personal progress and success are moving out of your parents house, going to college, getting married, accumulating a bunch of stuff, and making a little home of your own where you independently run your life and enjoy all of your stuff.

Well, I'm 30, living at home, back on my parents' cell phone plan, and all I own fits into my beat-up Honda Civic.  So why does it feel so much like I'm moving forward?

Back in college, I pretty much owned nothing.  I took my clothes, some books, some posters, and a crap-ass laptop with me to Penn State.  Moving from dorm to dorm, then into an apartment, or coming home for a summer, was pretty easy.  Just load everything into a mini-van and go.

When I got married, the stuff-accumulation festival began.  I went ahead and did the registry thing, zapping everything from curtains to paper towel holders to bath mats with that magic bar code machine thingy.  Soon our house was carefully arranged and polished, stocked with brand-new furniture and artsy/hipster decor.  We had matching dishes and glasses, an awesome set of pots and pans, and a brand-spanking new vacuum cleaner.  It took a full-fledged U-Haul to move us now, which obviously signifies adulthood.

Well, when I left that marriage, I felt so guilty about leaving and breaking his heart that I wanted to leave him everything.  He let me take the vacuum cleaner (since it was from my parents), and a desk.  And I think some towels.

So I went back down to not-too-much, but I still had quite a bit more than when I was in college.  After leaving my ex-husband, I lived in six different apartments over the next six years.  Each time I moved, I shed a few more belongings.  This most recent time of moving from my farm house to Rockville with Oldman, I slashed my belongings in half.

But then when I packed up even that small amount of stuff to move to Pennsylvania last week, I still took three more bags to the thrift shop.  Sheesh!  Now I feel truly minimalistic and free.  I love it.

My packed trunk

So happy about all I own fitting into my Civic

My entire key chain

In case you're interested, here is what I still own:
  • A small assortment of outdoor clothing (for backpacking and climbing), a couple of yoga outfits, a bathing suit and beach towel, and 4 drawers-worth of "regular" clothing
  • one pair of cowboy boots, one pair of rain boots, one pair of hiking boots, one pair of sneakers, one pair of flip-flops, and one pair of nicer sandals
  • Two small baskets-full of medicine - herbal, homeopathic, and conventional
  • Two small baskets-full of desk-ish items - stationary, pens, art supplies, etc.
  • A backpack filled with backpacking supplies (tent, bag, pad, other small stuff, etc. - all I need)
  • Climbing shoes and harness
  • Two crates full of books (which I will leave at my parents' house if I set off to travel)
  • Two stuffed animals (which I will not leave at my parents' house if I set off to travel)
  • A set of suitcases and 2 tote bags
  • Electronics: phone, laptop, kindle, iPod
  • Only the toiletries that I actually use on a daily basis: shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant powder, lotion, essential oil perfume, mineral makeup
  • One jewelry box with necklaces and earrings
  • A few decorative items for the wall and my altar (tibetan flags, photos in frames, my feather collection, my green rock collection, incense, etc)
I've gotten so into the shedding-belongings swing of things that I find myself holding back from throwing away stuff from other people's houses.  I walked around my old place in Rockville and saw all the crap that my landlady kept and had to sit on my hands to not just get rid of it all for her.  And now, at home, I see stuff like four liquid measuring cups in the cabinet and think, why?  Would they notice if I got rid of three?

(Don't worry, mom, I'm not going to throw your stuff away.)

I think this is like reverse kleptomania.  Maybe I need some help.


  1. You need to do a spreadsheet. Weigh it all in ounces...It's addictive. peace

  2. I'm getting ready to move and a bunch of my friends just graduated college so we're all going through the sort-out-and-get-rid-of-everyting-you-dont-need-thing at the same time. It's pretty nice and freeing.

  3. James, I'm not traveling with all of it on my back (thank god), or I would weigh it!

    Megan, that's great! Moving is such a perfect opportunity to shed.