Controlling your life? It suddenly smacked me on the head last summer that life had become routine/comfortable/predictable/determined and I was sinking into a giant toybox of stuff.
The 'nose to the grindstone' existence for the past 15 years has rewarded me with a 3 story house. I've loyally filled it up with stuff. Stuff I've collected: like hundreds of Seattle Worlds Fair nick-nacks. I love that stuff from 1962. It sits on shelves staring back through dust, making me wish I could go back to be inspired by the future as they were. The irony is they were looking into the future where I live now and I'm looking back into the past where they once lived.
They looking forward and me backwards to be inspired.
I bought 47 artworks by famous Northwest School artists at art auctions. I hung them all over the house, channeling the creative spirits of Mark Tobey, Morris Graves,Kenneth Callahan, Guy Anderson, and Bill Cumming. I surrounded myself with stuff I thought would inspire me. Not more than a few square inches of empty space anywhere. Turns out the opposite effect transpired. The stuff slowly sapped my creative will and lowered me into the hot tub of complacency.
I collected posters from every arts and crafts show I attended. Any printed matter with interesting imagery. Snagged it for the last dozen years. And T-shirts. Could not toss anything out. All of it is packed with memories and meanings. So this stuff has piled up around me, though I arrange it carefully to make it seem natural. Chronological order.
Something happened. Something snapped. My inner rebel fighter has emerged at the age of 59. I have identified the enemy. Stuff. I am fighting stuff.
My mission now: unload stuff. Tables, chairs, shelves, flat files, fans, lamps, cushions; all of it is being scrutinized. I've sold dozens of items on Craigslist.
The garage sale brought in $1200.
A lighter feeling overcomes each time I box up a hanging kite or a lovely ceramic pot and drop it off at Goodwill. I wonder who will be controlled by this ceramic pot now that I've let it go.
Letting go is the bigger theme. Let go of the awards and trophies. The pictures of life over the past 20 years, the stamp collection and the albums of civil war pictures. I'm freer today. What can relocate tomorrow?
In a few more weeks my house will be an empty container. A symbolic void ready to be filled again by the next eager one.
I will put it up for sale in March and trade for a home on wheels.