Attachment. ~ Jen McKelvie

Via on Jan 17, 2013
National Library of Scotland
National Library of Scotland

Or… Why do I have so much stuff?

As I begin the process of selecting things to get rid of or store, I am astonished to find it nearly impossible to part with my few remaining belongings. ‘I don’t wear this hat, but I got it from a friend in Vail, and I love it…’ and ‘I don’t have time to read this book, but I really want to!’ Even though I am just putting things in storage, I still feel like I am somehow giving up parts of myself.

I am totally shocked at my reluctance to let go of a pair of jeans and my electric tea kettle. I start to panic a little and begin to feel completely overwhelmed by the prospect of packing and moving my relatively few belongings. At the exact same moment that I am feeling overly attached to some face wash, I am also berating myself for being so spoiled. There are people with nothing, NOTHING! And here I am suffering a mini panic attack regarding which jackets to put into storage! I was (and am) ashamed of myself.

How can someone who has always been so unattached to things suddenly become obsessively dependent?  I took a step back and sat on my bed, surveying the gigantic mess I had made. I looked a my things, I thought about my things. And it occurred to me that for a year and a half, I have not had many personal belongings near me. I have one photo of my dad and I, my journal, some coral from a beach in Hong Kong and a blanket from Tibet. I have my phone to talk to my loved ones and my computer to keep me virtually connected. But I have been without the emotional grounding of special things for quite some time now. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I miss my stuff. I miss that lino block series I made, and all the pictures my friends painted for me. I miss those awesome chairs I scoured the internet for and that cute tiny jar that a best friend gave me that holds cotton balls. I miss that silly sofa pillow I have, and that rusty railroad nail that I found on a hike way up in the Rockies. I miss coming home to my space with my things that have been carefully cultivated by me.

But moving five times in a year and a half tends to force you to down size. At first I was all for it. I would exclaim ‘I don’t need/ want/ have to keep this, that and those!’ as I tossed, stored and donated my belongings. But after so much time in fairly major life transitions, the feeling of being rootless (that I have always felt was an integral part of my nature) is taking a toll. The past year and half has been filled to the brim with life lessons, fun, stress and everything else there is, all of which I expected. But this realization, of wanting things around me, comes as a surprise.

Apparently, I am not as detached as I assumed I was. And maybe I am more emotionally invested in some of my things than I should be, or at least would like to admit. But I do know, at least, that once I get to open all those boxes stuffed full of things, I will be like a kid at Christmas. I will probably cry.

And then I bet you a million dollars I’ll be shocked by how much stuff I saved and get rid of half of it!


photo : jen mckelvie
photo : jen mckelvie


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3 Responses to “Attachment. ~ Jen McKelvie”

  1. Ema Cooke says:

    Moving is much tougher job if there is no specific guideline to follow! I guess if anyone want to cut off the cost of moving may face such kinda trouble as you did. So, to avoid stress and troubles I prefer appointing a professional moving company. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. [...] There are two principal reasons. The first is that everyone, no matter their level of education or intelligence or physical ability, can practice generosity. The second is that Dana is a direct antidote to grasping, the cause of suffering. When you grasp something your hand has to close around it. When you are being generous, when you are offering something, your hand has to open and let go. [...]

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