Deciding to move into a small New York studio apartment at 36 years old is a strange decision. After years of accumulating nice stuff – handcrafted furniture, stainless steel cookware and the car of my dreams, none of it will fit into my life anymore.
Downsizing is supposed to be Liberating! Healthy!… I’ve found it a bit scary and sad. As a very nice family came to pick up my beautiful chocolate brown microfiber couch, I wouldn’t let it go. Tears welled as I remembered the long nights of laughing with friends on that couch and the endless hours of grad school application writing done on that couch. That couch loved me through some of the best – and supported me through some of the worst events of my life – when I was robbed at gunpoint, when a dear friend drowned, through my grandparents’ passing, several breakups and heartaches when I needed that couch’s soft embrace.
Who will hold me now?
See our stuff is more than stuff. Once in our lives, each item becomes intertwined with our memories. Our stuff is part of our story.
As I looked at that family, I considered the new memories the couch would bring them. Christmas mornings, late night movies, hours of napping on Sundays. My heart lifted, I couldn’t help but smile, and my hands let the couch go. It had taken good care of me, but now it is someone else’s turn. And that makes me happier than holding onto the couch ever could.
Besides, now my hands are free to embrace whatever opportunity comes next for me. My stuff could have held me back, weighed me down. Here’s to letting go of that which we no longer need.