I’m not one for stuff. If anything, I have an aversion to the stuff-culture. You know, the culture that says, let me buy one of these things that I don’t really need so I can have stuff. But going to my storage unit yesterday, I felt an strange feeling of belonging to, well, my belongings. I felt homesick.
It’s been 17months since I moved out of my home. The one I bought to feel safe in. The one my partner moved into and made a home with me (even though me and a cat would have struggled in such a small space). We made it work. We made memories, bought storage, fought in Ikea, killed pot plants and dealt with burst water pipes and breezy corridors.
On the day we moved out, I took a moment of mindfulness to thank my flat for all it had given me. A home. A haven. Security. Serenity. I had an attachment to this tiny place in South London that I found hard to articulate.
You see, I was ready for this next chapter – travelling for a year. My stuff being in storage was a relief to me. A part of me wanted to chuck it all out and free myself from anything attached to this old life.
But my stuff wasn’t what I was fond of. It was the bricks and mortar that made our home – the space we had created, the one I started off single in and left married. The one I bought three months before I was made redundant. The one where I entertained friends but could also lock my self away. The one I bought on a whim knowing I couldn’t continue where I was. It was a place no one could take from me. Until, of course I sold it!
I felt a twang in my tummy as we left. My throat felt like it was closing in on itself. I felt stupid. I don’t believe in owning stuff to make you happy and surely my flat is the biggest ‘stuff’ I owned. But what was this twag I felt? I realised, it was loss. It was the closing of a chapter that I knew I had finished, but wanted to keep close to my heart.
Going to the storage unit yesterday, I actually looked at my stuff and remembered things. It had all lived in our home. The stuff I had wanted freedom from, suddenly crowded my mind as it came to life. Pictures on tables, books on shelves, candles lit, artwork hanging. They were reminders of the chapter I had finished and had wanted so badly to move on from.
In the place I now call home, I now feel strangely displaced. We’re living with my in-laws as we get back on our feet having just come back from our travelling adventure. It’s not that I hate living here, I just suddenly feel that sense of loss all over again. And longing.
I feel nostalgia for the place I once called home. The one I drive past now and see the new owner has taken down my blinds and has a pot plant. Wow. He hasn’t killed the pot plant. I’m envious of the place that still looks like a hovel from the outside, has cracks in the walls inside and a damn patch that could blow the electrics when it rained. I miss the way I felt when I was inside that flat, looking out at it with pride that I did this. I had built a home. I had escaped the life I was living and built a new one. No, it wasn’t perfect (the flat or my life). But it was mine.
I think about all that stuff in storage and want to send a note.
You know how I feel about you and your type. I sometimes feel our lives are surrounded by messages that tell us we need you to feel content and happy. Not having bought into that philosophy, I want to tell you something…
Having you in my life did actually make me happy. When I see you now, I remember what you represent and that alone puts a smile on my face.
I can’t guarantee that you will be with me forever but I can promise you this. I will make another home one day that is filled with laughter and love. I will invite you to be part of it. Not as a focal point but as things that will help create the life I want. And as a reminder of where we once were.
I can’t wait to be reunited with you when we can build this next set of memories, together.
Until then, I’m going to remember the fun we had and imagine my future, free from the burden of wanting to run away from you again. For now anyway 🙂
Take care in storage. You’ll be free before you know it.