Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dead Weight

My heart has been stirring in me for a while now, directing me toward a big move. This will be the biggest move I've made since graduating high school.

I grew up in the Houston area. After high school, I moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to attend college. I've been here ever since.

For the past few months, I've been feeling the pull to relocate to a new city. This means a new job, a new place to live and a completely new life. It's particularly challenging because I'm not one to just up and leave.

I've worked for the same organization for 19 years. I've been in the same apartment for 16 years. During the course of my time here I've accumulated stuff. A lot of stuff.

This week I started the process of downsizing. I'm giving stuff away to friends or donating it to Goodwill. Some of the stuff might be considered valuable.

I had a bunch of etched glassware that I gave to a friend. She asked me if the pieces are antiques. I think, since the pieces are at least 70 years old, that etched glassware might be considered antique by some. I don't really know. I don't really care.

I do know that, regardless of how old these pieces might be, they're just stuff.

Really, they're just items. Things. I don't really need them.

There's a difference between what I need and what I want. Most days, I forget that.

So, now I'm in the process of downsizing. I simply don't know what to do with some of the things I've been keeping. Old slides, photos and yearbooks, where the only people who might have some emotional attachment to them are dead.

The question that comes to mind as I process through things is this - When does it become dead weight?

I'm admittedly at the early stages of recovery from being a packrat. The easy way is to hang onto stuff. It's also a bit lazy, I suspect. Just put it way and don't think about it.

The problem with being a packrat is that, eventually, a time will come when the hard work of cleaning house is necessary. We can't spend our lives lugging around things that have been passed down from earlier generations. A lot of it proves to be dead weight.

This is true of emotional and attitudinal things, as well. Downsizing takes work, particularly if it hasn't been done in a while. But I don't think we can live in freedom without it.

As you look at your life, what are you hanging onto that's become dead weight?

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