There are those blustery days, when the wind blows and covers the land with its breath. Along the way, rocks stay put, anchored to the land, unmoving; trees will sway, but barring hurricane-force winds, will remain rooted to the soil; a feather, however, like the opening scene of “Forrest Gump”, will let the wind happily take it where it may – no resistance, no definite plan in mind.
Life has its blustery days, as well; hardships, unforeseen events, destabilising turns of fortune. The question to ponder is: will we be the rock? or the tree? or the feather?
One such gust of wind blew into our life a few months ago, in the guise of “unemployment”. The current job market being rather less than glorious in these times of political indecisiveness, decisions had to be made.
Rock. Tree. Feather.
We opted to be the feather, letting Life take us where it may. As I recently wrote in another post, the Divine Winds of Fortune took us to Ireland.
A rather important consideration at this point was whether to ship all our stuff to Ireland or sell everything and move with the minimal amount needed. A brief look at the Irish rental market showed that the large majority of rentals come fully furnished, therefore…sell.
And so began a month of surprisingly emotional purging of almost everything we had – furniture, kitchen appliances, dishes, tools, vehicles, etc. It was emotional because, you see, my wife and I have only been together for 5 years; it is a second marriage for the both of us, having come out of long previous marriages. We had been rebuilding a life together, choosing our home, furniture, and all the things that go to make up a life of comfort.
So, as stuff began to go out the door with new owners, the pang of sadness that struck us both was somewhat astonishing, but understandable. There went the life we had just started rebuilding.
By the time we were done, everything we owned had been reduced to thirty small boxes.
I pondered this. After all, it was just “stuff”. Yet, when our bedroom set was taken away, we both felt so sad. I wondered why. Did this “stuff” give meaning to our lives? Or did we attribute meaning to the “stuff”? I suspect it is the latter, as I am quite convinced that our bedroom furniture had no emotions and did not put in much effort to have any sort of impact on our lives!
We had to remind ourselves that we were, in fact, trading in “stuff” for a great, new Life Experience: the opportunity to work, live in, and explore Ireland! We both agreed that Life is more about the adventures and experiences than the amount of stuff you accumulate. In addition to discovering the landscapes, cultural heritage, history, and traditions of Ireland, we are now at the doorstep to Europe, where we can easily hop on inexpensive flights to visit some wonderful destinations.
As of this writing, we have been in Ireland for a week; it still feels surreal, of course, as we stroll through the small town of Dunmore East – “We’re really here, aren’t we?! In Ireland! In Europe!”
And with these thoughts, the “stuff” we rid ourselves of already seems rather insignificant.