Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Art of Letting Go

The day after my big decision to quit my job to travel, I started unpacking my bookshelves and tossed my books in a big balikbayan box. I figured, to be able to save money to afford this trip, I needed to move out and save all the money that was going to my rent. (I got this idea from my professional couchsurfer friend, Natalia of 52 Weeks, 52 Couches.) And even if I didn’t know where I was going to move to yet, I didn’t waste any time. I was on autopilot. My books were both the easiest and the hardest to get rid of. Easy because they were mostly just on display and they didn’t serve a daily purpose to me – unlike my bed or my couch. They were small, they were all bunched up together, and were very accessible. Hard because I love them the most. I could even go as far as saying they were my most prized possessions.

Out of more than a hundred of them, I probably ended up keeping a dozen or so (like my Harry Potter books), and donated the rest to my friends and to the public library. I’m not going to lie. I wept. I didn’t just weep for the loss of the loves of my life, but also for the knowledge of what’s to come. I knew it was only the beginning, and that I’d have to let go of much, much more. 

Packing is the worst!

couldn't even go to my own bathroom

For an entire month, all I ever did was fill up tons of trash bags and boxes of my clothes, shoes, books, bedding, small furniture, plus all the unnecessary items I’ve acquired over the years, and I took them to the nearest Goodwill Donation Center. It’s mind-boggling how much we accumulate over time. We have certain possessions we couldn’t throw away because of their emotional association. But what we don’t realize is that soon those little trinkets turn into boxes of random crap that fill up your space. The paraphernalia that once had sentimental value just becomes unnecessary clutter after a while. I know it sounds unsparing, but try looking in your storage units, in your closets or underneath your bed. You’ll see what I mean.

What once was my bedroom. What it looked like while I was packing to when it was finally empty. :(
It didn’t take me long to lose my sentimentality. Pretty soon, all that was left of my lovely apartment were the clothes I still needed to use (for work and play) for the next 6 months, a few small bins for my electronics and toiletries, and a big bin for my shoes. Everything else was gone, and the new tenant was set to move in just days after my last. Just like that… the home I called for years wasn't mine anymore.

I went from sleeping on my bed, to sleeping on my couch, to sleeping on a mattress.

I loved my apartment. It was my first home living by myself. It was colorful, cozy, and comfortable. Any friend of mine who have ever stayed with me can attest to my apartment’s hospitality. The location was so close to work, I got it brand new, and it was always 5 degrees colder when you’re inside – which I loved! Ahhh, it was perfect.
On my last day, when the former glory of my place was finally empty, I hugged the walls (literally), thanked it for everything, said goodbye… and that was it.

I miss you :(

Now I’m living in Long Beach, “couchsurfing” with one of my very good friends, Wriss. I had to put quotations on “couchsurfing” because she’s letting me use her bed. She’s a little weird like that, but I can’t complain!
It’s a lot farther to work than where I used to live, but all the other perks of living here cancels that negative out. I mean, I’ve always wanted to live in a cute beach town – and now I am! It’s so laid back over here away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and it’s completely refreshing. There are local café's, pubs and art galleries all around my neighborhood, and I can walk everywhere! I love the vibe – it’s artsy and chill. And honestly, it’s just so much fun having a roommate again.

I do miss my apartment and the convenience that came along with it. Of course I do… that’s just normal, isn’t it? It’s difficult, letting go. Not just of material possessions – but of anything in general. You go through a lot of resistance and denial, especially at the beginning. It’s a struggle, you doubt your intentions, and you struggle some more. Then, if you’re lucky like me, it just gets easier as you go along. Eventually you realize that holding on to certain things just weigh you down. And sometimes, even if it’s some of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, you’ll come to realize that dumping your old crap and baggage just gives you more room. Room to grow, room to breathe, and in my case, room to fly. 

It’s like the snakes, see? They have to shed their old skin to make way for a new and shiny one. That way, they could gracefully go with the flow of their own lives with nothing held back.

Being as clumsy as I am, I doubt I’d be as graceful as a snake.
But I do know, that one way or another… I’ll shine.