The entire instigation had been prompted by a misplaced certificate in the filing cabinet in the office, at our home. Well, I thought I had looked everywhere, but still, I couldn’t find it anywhere. To think, all those years of studying for a certain qualification and now my future depended upon whether I was able to prove to a prospective employer that I was, in fact, as learned as I claimed I was. I had dived into the filing cabinet sifting through years of my life. School reports, merit awards, swimming certificates, but where on earth was my degree? There was only one thing for it. A massive clear out.
And so it began; the filling up of empty black bin bags with years of my life. I launched into action by stuffing bags-and-bags with old documents that I once felt I had to keep, otherwise I had no record of who I was, what I had done, how much I had been worth and how much tax I had paid (or in some cases – luckily – had not paid). This mission accumulated five bags of documents, dating back to almost fifteen years (i.e. bank statements, payslips, tax records, court summons, letters from loans sharks, death threats etcetera, etcetera…). Luckily I had found what I was looking for as soon as I had begun the task, but it had just felt so good. I had to continue…
Similarly I emptied out the contents of my music collection into bags-and-bags of CD’s. Music which I can quite easily hold in my head, sing in the shower, or play online. This resulted in three bags of CD’s.
Much later, I decided to move on to filling out bags-and-bags of garments, most of which I have not had for a very long time, because let’s face it; fashion was never built to last. However, the problem was, I came across certain items which symbolized particular periods in my life that had been so special to me and I had held onto, for such a long time, that it actually hurt when I filled those bags-and-bags with these particular garments. After much deliberation and a fluctuating heart, I had accumulated six bags of clothes. During which time, I decided that I simply had to fill even more bags-and-bags with useless books which held little meaning, for I just could not find the time to read them all, because, life is so demanding and although I have read most of them…still…the more high-brow ones do look ever so good on our bookshelves, don’t they…? After this particular expedition, I only managed to fill half a bag with books.
Needless to say there followed bags-and bags of trinkets, brick-&-brack and many more useless bags-and-bags of this, that and the other. Days later, when the job was done, I had all my bags-and-bags-of -possessions laid out in front of me, piled up on the garage floor, just waiting to be shipped out of my sight and out of my life forever.
I stood tall over these bags-and bags-of-possessions, with my hands on my hips, my legs wide, feet firm and gazed proudly at what I had managed to detach myself from, when unexpectedly, the same niggling little thought occurred that had kept bothering me for so long,
“…Is this it? Is this all my life is worth? Is this all there is to human existence itself? Surely not? There is so much more to me than my bags-and-bags of possessions…”.
But I couldn’t help but remember and with much regret, so many more bags-and-bags of my possessions that I had to leave behind in places where I could neither stay, nor carry my bag’s-and-bags of possessions with me and away. Not to mention all the times I had to throw my bags-and-bags of possessions along extensive journeys or else I would have collapsed under the weight of my very own belongings.
Regardless of how many bags-and-bags of possessions I’ve had to leave behind in the abyss I call my past or was filling up to send to charity in that present moment, I suddenly became more and more bamboozled as I began to think about all the many more bags-and-bags of possessions I had under my bed, hiding in boxes in the corner of the garage, hidden inside suitcases, stacked on my shelves…the list seems too tiresome to mention now in its entirety…but it’s all waiting to eventually fill up in to bags-and-bags of heavy loads, which we call our ‘possessions’.
“But I do not want to want things so much.” I decided.
It was then I turned my back towards my bags-and bags-of-possessions. To reject and walk away from the regret of the loss of things that I hadn’t wanted to leave behind, but had had to due to necessity and circumstance. As I did so, I started to feel an elevated weightlessness of soul. I felt as though I had relieved myself, from possessing too tight a hold on all my long lost life – I had released myself from the fabricated value of the things that had possessed me. Instead of remembering the loss of my long lost treasures, I began to vividly picture an instance somewhere in the future; a time after my death.
‘I’, as I know myself, has gone, been buried and somebody else must take my spot, they need to take my place. They arrive where I once lived and are greeted by all my possessions. They seem unimpressed with most of my belongings. They sigh deeply before they pull up their sleeves and begin to perform the same monotonous ritual I have had to do all my life. They however, appear to be able to do this with greater ease and are doing it more ruthlessly than I ever could.
They collect and fill, collect and fill, collect and fill, never hesitating to think about what they should throw or keep. Their prime goal is that all the black bags are filled with the most useless of goods, to be thrown away, and new space made for their very own bags-and-bags-of- possessions.
As for myself… now I am free. I am free at last. I am more weightless than a bank of cloud; without an ounce of density, but non-the-less profound in all my spiritual depth. I begin to drift away from all the material things that I have ever owned. Everything that ever burdened me, slowed me down, cluttered my mind or left me feeling claustrophobic in mine own space…it’s going, it’s all finally going…it’s going…and now it’s gone.
There is nothing left but ‘I’, found in a complete feeling of elation, no longer having to worry about all the bags-and bags-of-possessions that once I had to think so hard and decide, “Should I keep this or should I throw that away?”.