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Weekend Note / 03.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.


One night this summer, long before I knew of Marie Kondo and her philosophies on keeping a tidy home, I did a thorough purge of my apartment. I discarded anything I no longer found useful, beautiful, or, for one reason or another, didn't feel like me. This included a dress festooned with navy blue sequins; blank calendars from 2011, 2012, 2013; a high school gym shirt. It had occurred to me not long before that I might not stay in New York — or this apartment — forever, and suddenly, all of these things felt like weight, too cumbersome to carry. My parents had done this recently, before downsizing to a smaller home this summer. They shocked my brother and me with their ability to let go of possessions we'd carried with us for decades, over the course of many moves. Even the artwork we'd done as children was carefully photographed, saved to a hard drive, and then thrown away. "We have the memories," they said. "That's all we need."

Three full trash bags were carried out to the curb (or donated) after my most recent apartment cleanse. It was amazing that was there was still enough left to fill it. I tried to be thoughtful about what remained: ceramics my friends had made, paintings, photographs. I remembered an interview I'd done with an artist last summer who'd lost everything to a house fire in Berlin. Instead of devastation afterward, he'd felt ecstasy — with no possessions, he was free and able to move wherever he wished, so he did. He hasn't stopped traveling since.

As I've gotten older, I've had an increasing desire to live with less — to carry only what I need, or love, or what, as Marie Kondo would say, sparks joy. This has happened in an intangible sense, too, with people, and work, and extracurricular activities — if it's a regular part of my life, I want it to be a constructive addition. In this way, growing up has been a very gradual — but very consistent — process of paring down. Life, delightfully, seems only richer.

When my family moved from LA to Hawaii, we left many of our belongings behind. As a second grader, I remember packing toys and stuffed animals and books into boxes to be given away to other children — we kept only my favorites. Even our cat was given to our pool man's family in order to spare her the lengthy quarantine imposed on newly-arrived island animals. I cried when we said goodbye to her. My mom took me under her arm. "Don't worry," she said. "She'll find a new life." 

And so would we. I'd realize later that the more we were able to let go of, the easier it would be to move — and keep moving.

Have a wonderful, warm weekend. See you Monday.
 

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