Have you moved a lot or stayed in one place?
I’ve moved 10 times in the last 23 years. Being analytical at heart, I calculated that’s an average moving rate of every 2.3 years. Imagine…that’s packing, unpacking and setting up a new home about every 2 years. As I got ready to move yet again 2 years ago it really surprised me how often I’d moved. It had me asking my favorite question, “What was this meant to teach me?”
I felt a bit like Goldilocks - trying to find just the right fit.
Some of the moves had to do with marriage and divorce and some with wanting to stay close to my parents, living in my hometown, then wanting to leave and then a desire to return. There was a sense of expanding and shrinking as the space I was moving to dictated how much stuff I could bring. If I couldn’t bring it, I put it in storage.
Why didn’t I purge stuff?
I found it hard to part with “things” because it felt like I was giving away the memories of my life. I held on to stuff that far outlived its purpose.
The last place I lived was large enough that I took everything out of storage. I never unpacked most of it since eventually I would be moving into the house my dad lived in. I had boxes stacked floor to ceiling high in the basement with china, crystal, figurines, and collectibles that I had kept for 20 some odd years.
My space looked like a department store.
I had books, VHS tapes and cassettes, stuff I didn’t even have the equipment for anymore. And performance evaluations from 1990, because you never knew when you would need those! Oh and don’t forget the old report cards and art projects from grade school.
Time for another move.
Dad passed away unexpectedly in 2016. I said to a friend, “I’m moving again, back to my old neighborhood, where I grew up. It feels like I’m going backwards. I don’t know if this is a good thing.”
He very wisely said to me, “Pam, you are not going backwards, you have come full circle.” And just like that, with a different outlook, I felt the excitement of a new beginning.
It was time.
Looking at the walls of boxes I knew it was time to look inside, unpack boxes, unwrap things from their protective shell of tissue paper and bubble wrap, say goodbye and let them go.
As I did, I knew the memories attached to those things were part of my past. The simple things, like the birthday and valentine cards I drew for my parents, are treasures I won’t give up. But the rest are things that have taken up space and have tied me down to a time, place and person I used to be.
What have I learned?
When you let go of the past, you create the space and freedom for a new beginning. You feel free.
What are you holding onto from your past that doesn’t serve you? Look not only at the physical possessions but the thoughts, beliefs, and stories that keep you anchored in the past. Can you let them go?
I guarantee you’ll feel amazing freedom and a sense of lightness that comes with this unburdening.