So …where was I.
This process actually started six months ago so I’ll quickly get you up to speed.
Once the actual decision making was done, and the mild panic attacks and maudlin feelings subsided a little, the call to action was actually very simple. Time. I had none.
I’d decided to do my five day Yoga Therapy course in Sydney (more on that later) to get my head back into the game ASAP. Then I booked and paid for a one way flight to Chang Mai leaving the day it finished. I now had ten days.
Solution : Cull everything. Quickly. Brutally.
Luckily I’d had a good start before my trip to the US earlier in the year. When Jen moved home at Christmas (she’s American but don’t hold that against her), I had several weeks in Australia before I was due to fly out.
I spent those weeks missing her mainly, but otherwise donating and cleaning and chucking. It wasn’t until I started digging into old boxes and drawers that I realised I’d been a “hanger on’ in a very real sense. As in for some reason I like to hold onto the past. Good or bad. Just in case.
Things from my childhood: blankets, toys, old wedding presents that my parents received back in the 50’s, photographs from when I was at school, old girlfriends, my old school books and even assignments. Letters. Birthday cards. Old clothes that I hadn’t worn for years. Just…crap. Clutter. My past that for some reason i was compelled to haul around with me. So weird.
So anyway I noticed that twitchy little sentimentality muscle that we all have…”aww pictures of Nanna better keep that”… etc etc…I switched that off and started with all the old photos of previous lives. Old girlfriends, events, holidays, friends – into the bin. That was hard, but everything after that was surprisingly easy…every Thursday I filled up a garbage bin and a recycle bin of my old life and got rid if it. It became easier and easier to let things go. Hadn’t worn those shoes for months? Donated to St Vinnies. Do I need business suits any more? Donated to Vinnies. Why have i got 7 pairs of jeans. Gone. Gone Gone Gone.
Admittedly I did go a bit overboard (actually crazy overboard) with the decluttering to the point Jen told me to stop, but with every item of clutter that I chucked, I actually felt lighter – lighter in the mind, lighter in the soul (yep thats wanky). It felt like an addiction. Gotta get rid of this and stop living in the past.
Anyway, this time a few weeks back, after I got back, the hard yards were pretty much done. I packed up every remaining personal trinket and things, books, sheet music I couldn’t bear to part with, my guitars and the like and put them into long term storage.
I sold my computers on eBay (thank God I’m Mac only so i got a decent price), Got my financial affairs in order, lodged a Will, I sold my car, I gave notice on the house, I put out furniture on the kerb – I even gave away my BBQ to a nice guy that also took my outdoor setting chairs.
Declutter and simplify became my mantra. Let go of the past. Let go of the pain. Focus on the now, and get a little excited for the future.
Slowly but surely the jumble of things that I’d been hauling around the country for twenty years plus were whittled down to the bare minimum. What I actually needed to survive (plus my Macbook Air – love my macbook air) and a ukulele.
Wow. It can be done. With commitment. I had distilled my life down to almost the bare essentials with a few days to spare. To a backpack and a carry on bag, and my ukulele.
All that was left was to say goodbye and go.
That was two days before I left for my course in Sydney. Six days ago now. Twenty four hours from now I’ll be on the way to Chang Mai.