Most folks live their lives for their stuff. They work jobs that they don’t love, taking on over-time, in order to be able to afford the mortgage or rent for a big three or four bedroom, two bath house with a huge dining room, a living room, a family room, and a huge back yard. That back yard will house a workshop and yard toys. That workshop will house parts of cars that are long gone, shutters that don’t fit the house, nuts and bolts in cans, and bicycles that have been waiting five years to be fixed. We hold onto these things–I’m going to fix those bikes, and get some exercise one day. I may need a short stubby bolt, or a can full of nuts, or that old broken shutter… I’m going to fix that old rocking chair on the back porch. Maybe the kids will play with that rusty old swing again– for dear life, afraid of life without them. Spring Break is spent at home, reorganizing (ahem! moving the junk around.) and cleaning our stuff that we’ll never really use.
Sometimes, the stuff we store has memories: My trophy from T-Ball, my second grade perfect attendance certificate, my son’s first pair of shoes, my daughter’s first tooth, first locks of hair from first hair cuts… We buy bigger houses, and storage shed after storage shed (we have two, plus a garage/workshop), just to house all the stuff with memories attached. It seems that, as our memories grow, they take up more space.
Then there are our wants: that big screen television with the home entertainment system that takes up the biggest wall in the family room, and the track lighting that makes the room look like a movie theater. When all we do is sit alone and watch marathons of Law and Order: SVU, and munch pop corn.
Somehow, our self-esteem, our desire for acceptance, our memories and loves, failures and successes have all gotten tangled up with possessions. As if we could hold onto that basketball game, that cheerleading event, that English test, and relive that success. As if a trinket from a million years ago really makes us what we are now.
It’s simply not true. Those trinkets don’t make you successful, or confident… or competent! We can’t take any of it with us when we leave this world. Why should we carry it with us on our journey through it. It’s all junk, that serves to hold us down. I don’t mean it grounds us, by reminding us of past lessons, I mean it creates a ceiling that keeps us from rising to our potential.
Yet, here I am, at a point in life where I have to rid myself of my Earthly Impediments, so to speak, and I struggle.
We’ve recently acquired a used RV, that’s in pretty good condition. (Just needs a working ‘fridge.) We’re moving into it. Well, I guess I should say we’ve already moved into it. Nothing more will fit. As a matter of fact, I may have moved in too much. I am now tasked with the soap opera of clearing out the rental we’ve been staying in for the past year and a half. God only knows what we’re headed for, but I’m quite sure we won’t need a futon, or three large office desks.
There’s a part of me that can’t wait to be rid of all the junk that keeps us so stationary. I’m ready to start the adventure of full-time RV living, already! There’s another part of me, I guess it’s the part that’s afraid of the unknown, that doesn’t want to give up the remnants of brick and mortar life. There’s something to be said about water and electricity (and internet) on demand. there is something comforting about having space for the entire family to sleep in the event of a disaster… But then, I do love the idea of being able to be ready to leave in an hour or less, if the disaster is headed this way.
In any event, we’ve got the RV (had it since April first. I kept wondering if someone were going to jump out from the shadows and yell, “APRIL FOOLS! You don’t really own an RV!”) and we’re living in it. I guess that makes us committed to the lifestyle. (I have relatives that think that means we need to be committed.) Once we get the “big house” as I like to call it, empty, we’ll be ready to adventure.
It occurred to me, some weeks after I dubbed our rental “the big house,” that it’s what folks in old mob movies called prison. That’s how I feel, when I think of all the stuff that has been holding us down/back from so much.
Anyway, expect more on the RV life, in the near future. Also, I plan to bring you all up to speed on this RV thing (the journey to this point). Right now, I’ve a Big House to clean, and an RV to get company ready.
So, until our paths cross again, I leave you with the words of Jeremy Irons: “We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”