It’s 2013 and I know what I am grateful for . . . a boffice and a litchen. I’ve been off the blogging radar for the better part of the last month for good reason. Through a slight miscalculation, the move out date my partner and I had planned on from our residence was changed from January 30, 2013, to January 1, 2013. What was supposed to be the joy of the holidays full of plans and schemes and plum-pudding dreams turned into a mad 2-week dash to pack up and move most of our belongings to storage, find a low-cost apartment that would allow an 80-pound Labrador retriever and sell off whatever was too big and heavy to cart to a smaller living space. Two weeks. It was crazy and disheartening to see what little our money could get us and where we’d have to live and just how many places didn’t care too much for large dogs. We found a place though, after a week, only from my obsessive hunting behavior on the internet. In desperation I’d opened up my search to a wider circle including distant locales we’d no intention of entertaining and stumbled on something on the fringes of the area we’d been focusing on. There sat a week-old advertisement for a little guest house on a large property willing to allow a large dog. The rental was tiny for us. 700 square feet. Just one day before Christmas Eve, we called and checked it out. It was cute but we thought “What in the heck are we gonna do with all our stuff?” We knew the answer. It didn’t seem like we had much choice. We took it.
BEST-LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN
So, the last two weeks of 2012 were consumed with packing, stacking, and panicking. There was no time for Christmas preparations so I was thankful for having bought and sent some gifts to the littlest Santa believers in my family on the East Coast just a little bit early this year. We did manage to sandwich in a little break for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Thanks to our neighbors leaving some leftovers and a bottle of wine on our doorstep on Christmas Eve, we had a cozy Christmas dinner by firelight, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the fireplace with a packing box serving as a table.
There was no time to follow through on our plans to work on the Rose Parade floats in Pasadena. We were so excited about that opportunity–a repeat of our adventures last year that remain etched in the stardust of our minds–but it would have been a frivolous use of our time. Thrown on the wayside, too, were tickets for a concert we’d long been waiting to see. It was too short notice to find a buyer for those tickets, so in the dumpster they went, along with many other things that were not a good fit anymore. New Year’s Eve plans also fell through as we schlepped boxes upon boxes of stuff to storage ’til late in the evening–stuff we just didn’t have the time to go through and make decisions about. It was easier to box it, mark it, throw it in storage and deal with it later. By 9:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve night, we were exhausted and ready for bed with more work waiting ’round the corner for New Year’s Day–only my partner was now sick and I’d managed to injure my back. When New Year’s Day ended, somehow we’d done it. We’d moved it all out and moved whatever we needed to, in.
HIP TO BE SQUARE–700, TO BE EXACT
Fast forward to almost a week now in our new pad–all 700 square foot of it. We’ve given away or sold a third of what we owned. Another third is here in our new place, and the other third is sitting in storage wondering what to do with itself. We have two rooms and we are all too happy. Somehow the things that count the most are with us and then some. We wondered how close we were to being homeless had we not found a safe place that allowed our dog. We were not going to give her up, no matter what. And here we are . . . with all the most important things–ourselves and our 80-pound dog. We’re having a blast smartly setting up our little pad. We’ve come to love the two-room layout. We’ve got a lovely boffice a.k.a. bedroom and office combo. And we love our litchen a.k.a. living room and kitchen combo.
IT’S JUST STUFF
It’s a funny thing about stuff. We spend portions of our life trying to acquire as much of it as we can or the ‘best’ of it as we can. When it comes time to part with it against our plans or wishes, it is painful to let go of even one little item. Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that those things we once wanted and got, we now need or certainly MIGHT need some day.
But an interesting thing happens when we part with our possessions because we must. We let go a little. And sooner or later, we get over it. And then we part with some more things, and we let go a little more and get over that, too. Until . . . suddenly . . . it starts feeling good to get rid of our stuff. That’s when we step into that glorious place where we’ve finally freed ourselves of this power material things sometimes have. Our desire to ‘own’ something dissipates and along with it the attachment and anxiety that ownership brings. The more we give away, the less we feel we ‘need.’ It’s a good feeling, to not be so attached to things. Nothing drove that point so poignantly than the recent material losses from Hurricane Sandy, which did affect my friends and family but in retrospect seems so minor–even in their devastation–to the loss of life incurred by other folks I do not know, folks for whom I feel deep sadness.
GRATEFUL FOR MY BOFFICE AND LITCHEN
I am grateful this New Year’s for having found a place to live. I’m grateful that we didn’t buckle and settle for some of the scarier places we were looking at just so we could keep our dog. I am grateful for the part-time job I secured in October that allows my partner and I to collectively pull off paying the rent. I am grateful for the stuff I have and grateful for being able to give some good stuff away to other people in greater need than me. I’m grateful for managing to have faith for what seemed an impossible task during the height of the holiday season. And I’m more that grateful for our boffice and litchen. May I never forget to feel as grateful as I am today.
Belated and sincere blessings to you all for the New Year. May you always be grateful and may you always have exactly what you need. If you look within, you will find that you always do.