Friday, May 17, 2013
The Next Thing Coming
Yesterday I sold my bike. I also sold an extremely overpriced Urban Outfitters stool for next to nothing. Two very happy men walked away with these things, things they procured from Craigslist ads I posted without a second thought while drinking coffee and letting it all go. Little by little, nearly everything I own is making its way into other people's hands. We all feel like we are getting the better end of the deal.
Yesterday, as I wheeled my bike out the front door, my oldest daughter turned to her boyfriend and said, "She's selling all of her stuff! She always sells all of her stuff!"
It's not entirely true. I do sell a lot of my stuff, but I give a lot of it away, too. I used to haul it all to thrift stores, but that was before I started paying attention to the ways people need stuff where I live. Every day, the shopping carts and trucks rumble through, the lids of the dumpsters clunking noisily as people hop in and out of them with the hopes of finding things mistaken for trash. So now I just scrawl FREE/GRATIS in Sharpie on the sides of the boxes and place them outside. I've yet to see a single thing remain through a night.
What remains is what matters. The things I keep are merely symbolic. They symbolize people and moments, neither of which can be bought, sold, or given away. A silver ring with engravings of Hebrew, promising me nothing short of everything I could ever need,
my grandfather's ID bracelet, reminding me of who I am and where I come from. My mother's ashes, heavy and dust, the whisper of where I will go without input.
There is more, of course. I am sitting on a couch and I am not naked. The walls are not bare. There is art. The mantle looks like a tornado swept up the altars of seven different religious traditions and swirled them with family pictures and low budget antique store findings. The bookshelf could not possibly accomodate one more book on its Jenga tower.
The desk is cluttered with manuscript pages in an arrangement that only makes sense to me.
What matters is that what remains is my life as it is. Simple until I clutter it up with too much thinking and not enough living. It's a tendency that holds less and less appeal with time, just like a piece of overpriced and mass produced furniture. It is a cheap way to live, and I can't afford it.
Last night I watched my daughter as she sat on a stage in a bright blue cap and gown, and listened to person after person give speeches about what comes next. Her face flitted between expressions of joy and hopefulness to fear and trepidation. What actually came next was she handed me a rose, there was lots of hugging, and we got milkshakes. And that was that. She had graduated.
It made me think about the feeling that has been relentlessly pulling at me over the last several weeks. It is a feeling of being on the brink of a big change and needing to be ready. It has been occupying more than a little bit of headspace. The reality is that it is already happening. All I need to do is this moment as it arises, and then the next thing, and just like that...
Yes. Just like that.