I lost my backpack this weekend. And it didn’t even phase me.
I’m a Capricorn. I am notoriously addicted to stuff. While not exactly a hoarder, I could easily be called a collector…and maybe even an over-packer. I like to be well stocked and supplied. Okay, I’m a hoarder.
When we move to Costa Rica in 35 days, we all have two suitcases each. (And a carryon bag. And everything I can put in my pockets, belt pouches, and under my hat.)
I have had the wonderful opportunity to re-examine my relationship to the things in my life, to STUFF itself. It’s remarkable to engage with an object that I brought into my office five years ago, because I wanted to use it/make something with it/keep it incase I needed it ,and find that it still has served no useful purpose in my life, aside from weighing me down.
Then, there’s the stuff that makes the cut. The stuff I actually USE. My laptop, my journal, my keys and my wallet, my juggling balls. Things I keep nearby throughout the day.
And then there’s the stuff I want to look through when I’m an old man. Boxes of old memorabilia from when I was young; since the definition of “when I was young” expands to include ever-greater portions of my life, this collection gets larger. I’ve now got it up to 6 or 7 boxes of stuff, that I’m willing to pay to store indefinitely.
Normally, losing or misplacing any of my many possessions (catalogued subconsciously by my brain) causes me distress or even grief. But after a month of slowly, methodically combing through my office and re-examining all of my possessions, I was able to lose some unimportant stuff and really not care.
I was, admittedly, drunker than I had been in quite some time. The annual North American Organic Brewers Festival, which I have happily attended since its inception five years ago. This year was the first where I was not working a booth or attending with my kids; I could really just wander around and drink amazingly good beer in the sunshine.
I prepped well. I had my best Parkour pants, which have side pockets for my phone, wallet, and video camera. My keys were snug in one front pocket, and in the other was a grip of QR stickers so I could do some guerilla promotion.
I fashioned a juggling belt for the event; a thick, sturdy, military clipon belt with 2 pouches, one on each side. I had balls and shakers aplenty, so as the need arose, I could begin juggling drunkenly whenever I felt the whim.
(Juggling drunk should NEVER be done with flaming torches. I left those at home.)
Then, I had a drawstring backpack that had some company’s logo printed on it. Inside I had a sweater, some power bars, my pipe, and a few other things I don’t recall, because they weren’t any of the important stuff that merited being kept on my person (or having a belt fashioned for it). It was a bag of supplies.
I lost this bag at some point during the end of the festival, searched for a bit, and didn’t really mind when I didn’t find it.
It felt very liberating.
Nothing in the bag was so important that it could not be replaced. Then again, there isn’t any stuff in my life that is so important it could never be replaced.
I just tend to think that when something is MINE, it has to stay that way until I decide it should no longer be mine, and find a disposal route (selling, donating, etc) that suits my determination of the destiny of my stuff.
But you know what? Sometimes, stuff goes its own way.
Sometimes, it just disappears, and your life goes on without it.
Quite well, in fact.
In Costa Rica, where I’m moving in 35 days (did I already say that? I’m not trying to rub it in) there is a lot of theft. Stuff is different there. People generally don’t have a lot of it, and sometimes people come into your home when you are not there, and they take your stuff.
I’m getting okay with that.
To be clingy about your possessions, and connect yourself to them, limits your ability to fluidly move throughout the world.
Tim Ferriss, when he travels to a new destination, does not bring toiletries with him. Small supplies are beneath him. He purchases them when he arrives, for two reasons: it gives him an excuse to explore, and it doesnt weigh him down.
He can move without anything burdening him, because he does not put the burden on himself.
When I first read that in The Four Hour Workweek, I was agitated. My initial response to supplies is that I need to make sure that I have it, or I might not have it when I need it.
I have realized, of late, that is a thought with its roots in poverty.
The poorest people in America also typically have the most junk on their front porch. And now I know why: they fear not having these things later, so they must hoard them. If the need arose later for this thing (a vacuum cleaner, a car door, an extra garbage can) they do not feel they would be able to just…go out and get one.
They don’t feel the Universe would provide for them when they have a need later.
That thought, that intention, continues to manifest itself over time, making their mindset of lack validated by their act of possession.
The wealthiest know that if they need something, truly need it, it can be gotten when it is needed. There is no need to pack a wardrobe for every season when you travel around the world for a year…if you buy the clothes you need as you need them.
And give away the clothes you don’t need.
Yes, that winter coat may be useful next year…but right now? It’s sunny outside. Keeping supplies is just hoarding, and it blocks the amazing coat that could have come your way.
I’m getting ready for a big estate sale in a couple of weeks, to dispose of copious amounts of stuff. I am looking forward to being free of it all.
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