Apparently it is odd behaviour for a woman about half way through her life to sell off her assets, box up her remaining stuff, quit her job, and not have any kind of plan regarding what to do next. Huh. Imagine that.
But that is what I have done. Planned homelessness. I am a hobo.
I’m not having a personal crisis. I didn’t freak out and fire sale everything. I got a good price for my house. I filtered through rooms and rooms of unnecessary accumulated things. I will make good and conservative choices regarding my finances, and I will honour my responsibilities. Of course I have some vague kind of outline for what the future may entail, but I am making the conscious choice to let the road take me where it will. I want to see what happens next. I want to let it happen.
It doesn’t seem all that weird to me. But through the process of packing and renting trucks and storing things and giving things away, I have been continually asked the natural enough question: where are you moving? To which my answer is: nowhere. Followed up by: but, where did you buy? To which my answer is yet again: nowhere.
I tell them: I just thought I’d like to try a gypsy year. I’d like to really visit people. I want to travel. I want to explore some options.
I cannot really know what they’re thinking once I’ve said it. Most people kind of politely scratch their heads, like, okay, that’s… different. I think a lot of people think it’s kind of a lucky position for me to be in, and upon hearing it I think they might even be a little into it. But most say they could never do that. I don’t know. Maybe I can’t either. We’ll see. My son told me the other day that he thinks what I’m doing is brave, and cool. Well, that’s good enough for me.
My best friend has a spare room, and I’ve set up a little home base in it. It’s only been three days since the sale of my house closed, so I’m basically just getting used to not saying “well, I guess I’ll head home” around ten o’clock. No more drive to White Rock. Now I just shuffle up the stairs.
Based upon the weights of the two massive loads we brought to the garbage dump, we estimate that I probably got rid of somewhere in the neighbourhood of four thousand pounds of stuff. Two tons. Two freaking tons.
I gave away a lot of furniture. I gave away piles of Halloween costumes and decorations. Clothing, bedding, towels, dishes, even my beloved shoe collection were mercilessly culled. I honestly cannot count the trips to local thrift stores with carloads of donations. I sold the patio furniture and the gardening equipment. I had a garage sale, and I put boxes of knick-knacks and whats-its out on the curb for free.
And then there was the actual garbage and recycling. How the hell does that happen? My house was usually pretty tidy. I didn’t live with a collection of old pizza boxes laying around. I didn’t compulsively hoard sales flyers. I didn’t save every yoghurt container I’d ever emptied. Yet, lurking under the veneer of this nice normal looking life, there was almost seven hundred pounds of what I finally decided was… garbage.
I think the threat of identity theft has made hoarders of us all. In the old days, my parents just blithely tossed out last month’s phone bill with the trash. Now we keep bills and receipts and anything with our name or address on it. We file them up and keep them for, well apparently if you’re me, for forever.
I threw out cracked plant pots, small appliances that just almost sort of worked, chairs I got used to propping up, clocks that I hated the sound of, rugs that I couldn’t turn to the other side. There were drawers full of paper napkins, and envelopes, and playing cards that might yet become a deck. Glass jars, wooden beads, single flip-flops, and enough partial cans of paint to decorate the neighbourhood in a patchwork fantasy.
It is crazy, the things we keep. Having a garage is an open invitation to wayward junk everywhere: come on over, it shouts, you can stay at my place.
I think I now have well under half of the “stuff” I used to. And so far, not a single regret that it’s gone.
I take with me the memories of all the things that happened in that house. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad. There were mostly good things there: kids growing up, parties, dinners, and lots and lots of laughter. When I stepped backwards out of the front door for the last time, I whispered goodbye. I shed a few tears, but I know leaving is the right thing to do at just the right time.
So now, onward. What’s up? I’m not sure. But I’ll keep you posted.
5 thoughts on “My Homelessness”
Cheryl I wish you all the best in your endeavours and one must follow their heart!!!
You are right to follow your heart and I think gypsy will suit you for awhile…..all the new adventures and memories you can make now that you have cleared some of the clutter away!
I’m with Eli-brave and cool.
And like Dr Seuss wrote,
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
I was a gypsy til I had a child now I’ve forgotten how.., carry on! I had a blast( as you know, you were part of the tapestry) and I will find the road again
You go girl…