I have one thing left
I have one thing left; a fridge.
It is the last remaining testament to a life of ‘owning’ things. Little does the fridge know however, as it unassumingly chills my wine and cheese, that it too will go.
You see I’m 38 and I’ve just sold everything I own.
I have kept trinkets, letters and small works of art that I’ve collected from the breezy street galleries and musty market bazaars of my travels. But everything else, everything, is gone.
It all began on one of those inky moon-beam nights in Brisbane when the possums scratch, the bats screech and the air is so still and hot that it throbs. I was taking some time out to decide exactly how best to use my long service leave and to tell you the truth I was stumped.
I knew that I wanted to travel, to write, to rest and I knew that I needed time and space to breathe life back into my little beating heart.
It came as a flash to me in that moment… perhaps I’ll try to sell some of my clutter.
I thought that if I got started by getting rid of the little things that seemed to take up space in my apartment that my mind would clear too.
The next morning I decided to sell a little white table that I’d earnestly collected on a rainy day at the Paddington Antiques Centre. The response was immediate.
Within one hour of advertising my little white table it was no longer my little white table. It now belonged to a lovely lady who was redecorating her house in retirement and who was chuffed to have secured quite the bargain.
And let me tell you how I felt when my gorgeous, intricately carved, pressed-metal-handled antique table walked out the door… elated.
It was as if, in that instant, I became untethered.
And so began the selling. I’m not one to do things by halves, indeed I can get a little carried away, but as each item walked out the door, the lighter, more euphoric I felt and the more I wanted to sell.
At the half way point I decided to sell it all.
I realised that this rebirth was indeed on a biblical scale and it wouldn’t be complete until I submerged myself.
A colourful procession of the newly divorced, relocating, broke and broken visited me in my little apartment, connected for a moment over the object that we were exchanging and left my home with a skip and a smile. I was letting go of the ‘things’ but I was connecting with others.
At some point in the weeks that followed I ended my lease and bought a ticket to Italy. My moonlight prophesy was coming true. I was sleeping better, feeling better and the fog that had hovered before me was lifting.
It was in this process of ‘letting go’ that I gained something; a sense of myself and a sense of a future untethered from possessions and almost phosphorescent with possibility.
This ‘selling everything you own’ is not for everyone and indeed I know that at some time in the future I will no doubt spend rainy afternoons collecting trinkets in antique stores and surrounding myself with beautiful things again. But these things will no longer anchor me to a time and place that I don’t wish to be anchored to.
I won’t let them.
What has become clear as I sit in my unfurnished apartment with a ticket to Italy in my pocket is this…
There is no need to yearn for possessions that I no longer possess because I never owned them anyway. They are, just as everything else before them and everything after, due to go back to the place from which they came.
From dust to dust.