No one has looked at the house since before Christmas and nothing is moving on Craigslist. Panic is settling in at 4 AM when I wake up and my shoulder and elbow are stiff and aching from hugging the pillow too tightly. In two short months I will be locking the door behind me, having someone drive me to the airport and thinking endlessly about the dog I left in someone’s care until I return to the States again. There is so much to do and I’m frozen in inaction with a million thoughts and doubts coursing through my brain.
It’ll all work out, I tell myself. But I must repeat this endlessly throughout the day so that the message will sink in and become a truth, ingrained and part of me.
I’ve laid most of the groundwork, planned and set the stage for the pieces to fall into place. Or at least I think I have. I’ve been building a foundation so that when I leave things will be settled financially, legally, medically, spiritually. The next two months will be busy boxing things up and distributing possessions: selling, donating, giving things away to friends. I’ve begun to make a very small dent in my collection of cookbooks, passing along some of my favorites to people I know will appreciate them as much as I have, to people I enjoy working with at the Community Gardens, to people who love food and love sharing culinary gifts with the people they care about.
But there is so much more, years of accumulation and collection. Stuff. A houseful of stuff. I don’t want to simply give it all away, there’s some value in my possessions. We’re not talking priceless antiques or valuable finery, but nice things. I hate the thought of selling my life and dealing with people trying to scam me and manipulate me and get something for nothing. A friend suggested an estate seller and I had a woman look over these things of mine a few months ago to see if she could sell them for me. She said she wasn’t interested; there weren’t enough valuable items there for her to make any money. I asked if she would check around to help me find someone who could help me in the seemingly monumental task of ridding my life of my material goods. She called a week or so later and said she asked among others who deal with estate sales and no one was interested. She heard a little desperation and despair in my voice when I thanked her and in a moment of what must have seemed like warm-hearted concern to her, she mentioned that she saw a billboard in her travels and thought of me. The billboard advertised a local junk hauler…and she rattled off the number. My life is junk.
A few months ago someone had posted one of those on-line personality quizzes and in a moment of inaction and uncertainty I casually answered the blocks of statements posed on the site. In mid-December my responses to the series of questions pegged me as a Dreamy Idealist: shy, cautious, honorable, and peace-loving. Perfect personality type for a 58-year old Peace Corps volunteer, don’t you think? The Dreamy Idealist is also less interested in details. The devil has always been in the details and dealing in those details has never been my strong suit. I prefer to have someone help me, kick me in the butt when necessary to motivate me and encourage me. I have found a friend who is willing to help me with this chore (and I do see it as a chore) of divesting my life. A plan is now in place and things are moving along. Unfortunately nothing is moving out the door just yet. But it’ll come. I’m sure of it.
I retook the on-line personality quiz again recently and this time my responses got me labeled an Independent Thinker: still introverted, cautious and averse to conflict, but now more self-confident and aware of my strengths. I don’t feel that self-confidence, especially at 4 in the morning, trying to ease the clenched pain in my arms, fearful and apprehensive of the future. But something inside me, something I’m not altogether conscious of, is percolating up and revealing a part of me I’m neglecting, a part of me that needs nourishment and encouragement. Perhaps that Independent Thinker needs a hug from the Dreamy Idealist.
It’ll all work out, I remind myself.