This month is a big transition for me. I decided to move to a new city, selling my house and getting rid of most of my belongings. For fifteen years I've lived in Portland Oregon. I have friends, a garden, I know where the good coffee shops are and the best city parks to watch dogs make friends. So, why leave all of those things and go somewhere completely unknown?
A year ago I left Portland and traveled to Ireland. I worked on farms, and lived in communal style situations. It was me, and a bunch of European teenagers. At first, this was a bit off-putting. But soon I began to be inspired by these young people and their enthusiasm for exploring and figuring out what they wanted in their new adult life. I also wanted to create a new life. I had spent most of my adult life taking on more and more responsibility for others, and feeling more burned out. But now I had space and more freedom. I could figure out what I wanted to do on a daily basis. Aside from the work I did at the farm, which was physical and not mentally taxing, my time was really my own.
When I got back from my travels, I looked around the city. I looked at my relationships, the kind of work I was doing. I looked at my basement full of boxes of who knows what. For nine months I had lived happily out of a suitcase, I had five shirts and two pairs of pants. Now, looking at my closet full of options of things to wear I found myself unsure. A dress? A blouse? Which sweater? I didn't like any of them.
I began to plan my exit. I decided that I would get rid of everything except for a suitcase of clothes. I began selling and giving away furniture, appliances, dishes, books. It is amazing how much stuff I had. In this process I kept running into 'priceless things' something that had a memory associated with it that was hard to let go of. A book my father had written an inscription in. My favorite gardening tool. The light green toaster that had always looked so amazing on the counter. When I did give away the toaster a month before I left town, I realized how I had come to rely on it. Untoasted bread is so. . . floppy, featureless, depressing. Did I really think I would not need toast in my future? I had been dead wrong. For a month I fried bread in butter in a pan. Take note: fried bread is not toast, nor shall it ever be.
I picked a town to move to, a beautiful small town called Sedona. I had visited for a week and loved the way it felt. Wherever I lived, I would be able to walk into an amazing landscape of sculpted red cliffs and dry manzanita forest. That was what attracted me, along with the atmosphere of spiritual exploration. Crystal Shops, Psychics, places in the cliffs called vortexes, where people experienced a special kind of vibration from the earth. But more than any of these things, it is just the idea of being somewhere new, exploring someplace and getting to know it. Then, having the opportunity to reset my life by letting go of things I don't really need anymore and then settling in again.
Maybe I'll find I don't need those things or maybe I'll start gathering stuff like toasters and books and sweaters all over again. Stay tuned for Total Life Reset part 2. I'll let you know how it goes.