Um, how the hell did it become late July already? What is going on here?!!
In just over five weeks, I will turn in my dissertation.
In just over five weeks, I will be leaving London.
In just over five weeks, my stuff will be packed up, and I will be living out of a suitcase.
Yes, I'm leaving London. At least for now. The current plan seems to be to go to New York by way of India. Yes, I'm aware that India is not *technically* on the way to New York. But homeland, and more importantly, family calls ... and so off I shall go.
I've been behind on my blog reading and writing, but today I read Green Bean's post about her small home.
And it made me reflect, once again on my stuff.
When I was in college, I took pride in the fact that I had very little in the way of stuff. I felt like it was important for a person to only have as much stuff as could fit in the back of a Honda Civic. That was how a young person was supposed to live. Rootless, free as a bird, able to take off on a whim.
Then I moved to Los Angeles. And though I assumed that my vagabond lifestyle would somewhat continue, I instead developed these awful things.
I lived in one ghetto apartment next to, I am not making this up, a bona-fide drug dealer. One time, we came home and there were helicopters above and about five or six police cars on the street.
Also, the roof leaked and the balcony in the master bedroom tilted so that rainwater would spill over into the room, and we had to evacuate our rooms several times so that the carpet could be pulled up and dried so we would't get mold. So what I'm saying is that this apartment was maybe not the most awesome place in the world.
Nevertheless, I continued to live there. For FIVE years. Because I was lazy. And I had started to acquire stuff. More stuff than one could fit in a Honda Civic. I owned a FRIDGE, for God's sake. Moving was a bitch. Plus, all my stuff was there, the walls were decorated, my room felt properly kitted out. For all its faults, this place was home.
After five years, I was finally persuaded to move. I moved into a much NICER neighborhood, painted it, decorated it, bought more new stuff, and decided I loved my place too much and was going to live in it until the day I died.
Except, that I didn't. Because I got rid of most of my stuff, got on a plane to London, and ended up in a room the size of a postage stamp with two suitcases.
I am glad I didn't acquire a whole bunch of stuff in London. Because frankly, it's going to make moving much easier.
But I also realize that without all that stuff, there is a feeling of impermanence. Although I love London and seriously considered staying here, I never felt that I was really much more than a traveler to these parts.
And yes, there are many reasons for that, but I'll tell you what. Never underestimate the power of stuff. To weigh you down, yes, but also to anchor you and to settle you.
I have stuff therefore I am.
Without my stuff, I always felt more like I was in a hotel than in my own home. Meanwhile, I still seem to suffer under the delusion that my home is still waiting for me in Los Angeles. The walls still painted turquoise and brown, the crumbs in the papasan still needing to be vacuumed.
No matter that I got rid of the papasan. And the bed. And the futon. And the fridge. And the CAR.
So, in a few weeks, this girl who lacks the weight of any substantial possessions shall take flight once again. To India, and then for a couple months, to New York.
Now, you know me, I'm not big on the consumerism, but I do wonder if I'll have to buy a lot more stuff before I ever feel like I'm truly at home again. I do wonder if somewhere there is a balance between weighted down and feather-light.
In the mean time, when people ask me where home is, I'll likely answer as per usual, "Los Angeles." It may not be where I lay my head, but it's where I once I owned a fridge.
6 months ago