Looking for answers to life's questions

Blogging 101 gave us another assignment that I’m tardy in completing. I tend to get bogged down with the technical assignments as in widgets and the blogroll vs blogs I follow. This assignment is to write about what prompted my comment on a new blog I’ve read and link you to it. This assignment was easy since a new blog I’ve started following inspired many thoughts.

Shaku Dreaming has so much fodder for thought I almost didn’t know where to start. We have a few things in common. We both left our country of origin leaving much behind. I was only four, she a grown woman. My mother had the same issue of what had to be left and what would be brought along. Mom snagged two pots her mother used to make the much sought after bread balls that go under luscious meat gravy. I don’t think she asked her mother before packing them. My toys were left behind as well.

I keep these within reach now.

I keep these within reach now.

As a person with ample belongings, I wonder if the start we had here contributed to the collecting of stuff. Shaku takes us through her reasoning process of what had to come along on her journey and what was left behind. While reading, I was reminded also of another time that decision was forced on me. Moves always bring those thoughts about but so does a fire evacuation. We experience that during Arizona’s Rodeo-Chedeski fire in 2002.

We at least had some warning and time to think about what to take and leave behind. When you are filling vehicles you look real hard and ask a lot of questions. Mostly, what can be replaced and what is irreplaceable. I have to be very forthright here. I never expected the fire to get to our neighborhood. The Governor had a home right across the road in a gated community. We also backed up to the Apache Reservation. I have to admit I was a bit casual about it at the time but evacuation wasn’t a choice.

Welcome to the parade. Thank goodness for tail lights.

Welcome to the parade. Thank goodness for tail lights.

Obviously there are photos, family videos, personal papers that can’t be replaced like my naturalization papers, passports and insurance documents. Computers but not sewing machines found their way into the vehicles. Dog food and blankets to make sure my best friend was always cared for. We brought very few clothes. It turned out we were evacuated for a mere 10 days. We also brought a cooler filled with some food and drinks. That came in handy in our drive across the desert in 110 degree heat. My daughter was following us in our pickup when the AC quit. We had her drop towels into the ice water and wrap them around her neck to keep heat stroke at bay.

It's fire proof but too necessary to be left behind unless necessary

It’s fire proof but too necessary to be left behind unless necessary

In my new house, those pots will soon find a spot on my wall with the other artwork created by my mother. They are no longer cook worthy but very much a memory. I think my car will be much lighter if I have to pack it again. Go by and see what Shaku found important.

There are many situations in life that bring us back to basics. What is really important? Have you thought about it lately?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of What Can’t Be Left Behind" (9)

  1. After losing my belongings numerous times through the years, once through fire and 3 times through other people I have learned what to take and what to leave behind. It’s not easy to make those decisions either times, but when you travel light, you do know what to take with you after a while and what can be replaced.

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    • I always traveled light until I married my last husband. He was a packrat and I’m still recovering. It’s been a long process. It worked in reverse for me. Having so little made me hold on tighter. But I’m still collecting a box a week for the Salvation Army. It’s been mostly about self discovery. I learned to do what pleased others and still finding out what pleases me. Thanks for reading. This blogging 101 is adding a lot of work I don’t have time for.

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      • I know how it is when you want/need to do so many things. You don’t have to do this blogging 101, don’t feel bad if you need to cut it out of your agenda. This time is about you my friend. Don’t put added pressure on yourself. big hugs!

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      • Thanks Jackie. 🙂

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  2. This article raises lot of issues for me! Once I thought possessions were very important – and that, I suspect was a result of a childhood that was impoverished on just about every level. But as I grew older and clearer about what I wanted for myself I began to have to make choices between stuff and freedom. I chose freedom every time and as a result have left ‘stuff’ scattered all over the world. I always start again though, and soon find myself accumulating more stuff 🙂 I know now though that I can walk away from all my material goods without a backward glance. What remains important to me is relationships, what lives in my heart and what I have acquired from this life in the form of experiences, memories and growth. I keep a folder with personal papers in and a cat cage handy so my animals are safe and I’m good to go – the rest is just ‘stuff’.

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    • You got it Pauline. I brought a lot with me when I left the last husband. I brought it to sell it so I could continue to pay my expenses. I’m very good at selling stuff off. The things I have the hardest time parting with are needle work my mother made that can never be replaced. Things I’ve made I don’t care as much about since I can always make more for awhile. We took things out of the house in case looters got to it while we were gone. Yes, that happens. The rest the insurance would cover. Right now if I had to leave my car would have plenty of room. I’m still working on letting stuff go but gratitude is where I live daily. I am so grateful for the abundance that is my life. I have plenty to share and enjoy doing it.

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  3. Interesting question my dear. I got a wee taste of this during the sale of our house. I couldn’t put everything into our storage locker and the condo was rather small, so what to keep, give away, donate was a real conundrum. I think it’s easy to say (as I eluded to in my last post) I probably have way too much ‘stuff’. But should I have to vacate my ‘nest’ hastily, number one would be our pets and their food. Then there’s a binder with official documents I’d grab, my lap top since it has almost all my photo’s and my phone. I suppose my overnight bag with a few things too. The rest? It’d be a shame if it all went up in smoke. I just have lots of memories, fire can’t take that from you. I hope I never have to decide, I’m surprised you were able to remain calm, that wouldn’t be me. I’m sure moving into a senior home might be really the pits because those places are so small. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. We aren’t the sum of what we have. Many people who have *everything* they ever wanted aren’t happy at all. Thanks for two great reads this morning! I’m off to work today, la la la chirp xoxox (that’s me being a little bird and heading out the door, lol)

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  4. Marlene, I could have sworn I left a comment here earlier in the week. So strange. Sometimes I read posts on my phone, but find it fatiguing to type a decent reply on such a small device. I’ll bet that is what I did instead.

    My son, a senior in high school, just wrote a short essay on happiness. He did a bit of research, then presented his findings. Turns out that the more you have, the more you want and that material possessions actually make us unhappy. I’ve worked with organizing clients for 7 years now, so I can certainly attest to that.

    Like Pauline, money was tight after our father died and all the way through my college years. I once thought of possessions as a way that others judged you (and they do) and saw that I came up short. I grew up wearing clothes from a second hand store. It was embarrassing. l felt judged by what I didn’t have and figured I wasn’t good enough. It didn’t help that we lived in an affluent community, where many school kids seem to judge us based on what we didn’t have.

    I’m now on the other end of that spectrum. I’m happier with less. I’ve encouraged my boys to pass on clothing, books and toys as soon as they’ve outgrown them. Their is always so much need.

    I’m sure your beginnings influenced where you are now. It’s great that you are so self-aware. You’ve got great stories to share. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

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    • Thank you Alys for reading twice.:) I’ve looked back and realized that the collecting started when I was married to my last husband (the packrat). Prior to that, I was content with just enough. Food though was always an issue. Still working on that one. Each week now for the last 5 years, I have been selling or giving away so much of what I have. A lot was accumulated knowing that there would be no purchasing power once I was alone and on SS. I have a reserve to keep me busy till I’m gone but even there, I’m looking at things differently. As we age, needs and desires change. I’m quite well organized but still have lots of little stuff that needs to find it’s way into the thrift store box. Maybe by next summer, I will be properly pared down. it will help when my sister moves her things out too. She is a minimalist with no hobbies but I’m her lending library. I think I could get rid of everything but the books for now.

      Mom made our clothes and we always looked nice as did my children. Kids teased anyway.

      BTW, I liked what you said to Pauline about procrastination and fear. It resonated big time. You helped us both with one key stroke. Thanks.

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