Pursuing Life's Daring Adventure

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Substance and Accumulation

This is the first time in a week that I’ve sat down at a computer, so you can know I’m not exaggerating when I say the past week has been quite busy. Actually, the past week has been tremendously busy, more than any week I can remember, but more than that… the past few days have held for us all sorts of surprises.
The surprises have been wonderful, to speak of their magnitude somewhat lightly—so I have to share.

1) Our boys started school here in Prague, which, for any expat parents of young students, can always be a bit worrisome. But, even our oldest loved school, and made new friends on the first day.

2) Our sea container of household goods arrived at our home. Yay! No more sleeping, sitting, and eating on floors—we received our beloved soft furniture four weeks early!

3) Our long term visas were completed. Yippee-kye-yay! The documents we needed to do many essential things here in Czech Republic were finished nine weeks ahead of the date we had previously been given.

4) We found a family vehicle with several features of importance, especially safety, roominess, and within our cost guidelines (which is a huge deal in a country where the average cost of cars is two to three times higher than in the States).

Whew! Yes, this week has been a gift.

In Europe, most things are much smaller than what we are accustomed to in the States—not only the size of the country, but the size of the streets, and cars, and houses, and trash cans, and sinks, and closets (if even there), and refrigerators. Only the pilsner beers and rosebushes seem to be larger. So in our planning to move into a smaller house here in Prague from our modest-sized house of ten years in the Midwest, we gave many things away to people who needed them. It proved to be a good strategy. But I can say from the past five days of gritty work in settling our household goods, we didn’t give away enough.

According to the contract with the movers, after they brought our boxes in from the sea container, they were to empty the boxes for us and then haul the cardboard and paper away. In theory, that sounded wonderful. But when it came down to it, a couple of our rooms, we couldn’t even enter because of the sheer amount of things on the floor—books, pens, papers, socks, shoes—everything just kind of dumped onto the floor.

Yes, the past five days have been overwhelming, to say the least, but I’ve learned a bit about myself and my needs in the process.

Some things, to me, are like water—things I can’t live without: books, photographs, basic clothes, soft chairs, and more books. But, the past few days of trying to make sense of clutter and chaos has left me with a new feeling: accumulation is the enemy of peace and creativity. The more stuff we collect and drag around with us the less energy and time and love we have for the things that really matter and mean something to us.

Our lives are so much richer without the stuff.

As I wrap up the remaining five percent left of work I have in settling our house, I look forward to getting into a new writing routine, and constantly learning new ways to free myself up to a fuller life composed less of stuff and more of substance.

Life is too short to spend dealing with stuff, and too full of the riches of experience to waste. Enjoy today!

1 comment:

  1. The trick is to keep moving. We've been in the current house 8 years--longer than we've lived anywhere in 32 years of marriage. I've spent the summer trying to get rid of stuf, anyway, anyhow, because it does bog down your mind and soul. And since you'll only be there three years, get rid of something for every great Czech thing you buy! :-)


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