I recommend changing your residence frequently if for one reason only… to interrupt the influx of junk mail that like a pack of wild hounds follows you wherever you go. I’ve been in California almost a full year and so far I’ve shaken them. I guess New York to California was a big enough jump to throw off my scent. They’re probably still circling in a wild frenzy wondering where I’ve gone.
Lots of people I know complain about the sheer volume of senseless junk in the mailbox, especially when fake mail outnumbers real mail 4:1 (We can thank our slow transformation into a paperless society for that one.). Normally, I’m right there with the complainers, but lately I don’t even get that remaining 25%… the real stuff. After a lifetime of monthly bank statements, requests for mortgage payments, semi-annual jury duty summons–heck, even Publishers Clearing House winner notifications–something has always come along in the mail to acknowledge my existence. When I spot the mailman coming, I remain hopeful at the prospect of an envelope with my name on it, but am instead faced with a plentitude of “Occupant,” “Resident,” or “Our Neighbor At.” I’m beginning to feel I don’t exist.
It’s all part of this attachment issue I’m dealing with. I expected Part I of the attachment lesson… letting go of a lot of physical possessions in the last several years. Some of it I gave away, some of it was taken from me, but I’ve had to acknowledge and accept that my stuff no more defines me than the brand of coffee I drink. (No insult to you, Juan Valdez, wherever you are.) By the way, I am living proof that “I” still exist without these things. But I wasn’t prepared for Part II of my attachment lesson… the reminder to not attach my identity to my career, my marital status, or my successes and failures in life in general. These last few years, I’ve had to also get used to the fact that I was no longer somebody’s wife, that I was no longer a steady-working computer professional and that I was no longer a person who owned a home. These things that used to make me feel grounded, however falsely, have all but disappeared.
And it finally dawned on me today that I keep looking in the mailbox, not for something I’m expecting from anyone but for something I’m missing… my identity. Gone is the clarity of who I am… the certainty of W2’s at the end of January, the annoying interruption of Jury Duty notices in my otherwise regular routine, the wedding band on the finger that says I am safe and secure. Rather, I am simply a person charting a new path and–if the universe will be so kind as to let me–finding peace in the process.
It’s a little unnerving to run free when you’ve been in a well-defined crate your whole life. But if you take away the career title, the marital status, the mortgage payment and the tax return, I’m still me. I am alive and I am free. And I sure as hell don’t need something in the mail to tell me so. The postman cometh, but not for me. And I think I’m finally okay with that.
What do you most identify with? Is there something in your life that can pull the rug out from under you and leave you wondering who you are? What will you do to reassert yourself? What is the fake you and what is the real you?