The past week I spend back “home” in Sweden. My boss called it “vacation”, my stiff muscles painfully disagree. My trip to Sweden, not quite work related, was still far from a leisure trip. It concerned the elimination of a life’s anchor, more precisely to empty my old apartment of all my possessions.
Diving deep, I spent the week going through three decades of lifetime-souvenirs disguised as everyday objects. To my great surprise, most of the objects were to me completely indifferent. The few occasional exceptions flooded my limbic system with a sort of mild “oh no, more stuff…”. The wardrobe housed piles of skeletons and laugher clad the “the elephant” (the grey leather sofa) like a second skin.
Getting rid of all things not punching their way through my soul, was the worst bit. Throwing things over board was unacceptable to me. Too many nice things should not reside on a garbage pile somewhere. In a world where (absolutely) everything lasts at most a couple of years, I believe we should make an effort to allow fully functional furniture and lovely little gimmicks a second round of ownership. Selling a few items to friends for “coffee money”, I was mighty surprised at exactly what people wanted to buy… The items I was sure to go, people had no interest in, and the items I was sure I would have to throw away, well some of it got picked. Eventually everything left was shipped of to a second hand shop with the hope that someone might have mercy on a pretty bowl or a chair. Only a random selection of liberated items sailed safely ashore in the banana-carton-lifeboats: A filled bookshelf, a few boxes of kitchen utensils and ridiculous amounts of ‘homemade art’: from abstract naivistic scribbles generated during childhood to seemingly ‘serious attempts’ in not-that-long-ago adulthood (most I fear I dare not look at again… ).
It was strange to experience a cliché at first hand, how by each elimination my steps felt lighter. I never really cared much for items, but not owning much made me mobile, even more so than I already was. I am ready to head into deep water.