Having spent my twenties, and then the first couple of years of my thirties, too, in a relatively stable relationship, I have built up a lot of stuff. By the end of my twenties, I was buying Nice Things. That ratty couch we picked up off the side of the road? Gone, replaced by a beautiful leather couch that I bought in an actual store, brand new. Last year, I replaced our not-even-that-old TV with a bigger, crisper, shinier one. With a better speaker system.
And on it goes.
Now, suddenly, I’m trying to wrap up my life here. More than a decade of collecting things, and now I need to get rid of most of them. I’m not crying into my furniture and electricals as I give them on to other people or anything, but it’s still a weird feeling: I had my life all sorted out, and now I don’t. Now I’m (sort of) reverting back to the twenty-something mode of ‘Let’s take a working holiday somewhere on the other side of the world!’ and none of this stuff will help.
Even beyond the more philosophical side of it, I hate trying to get rid of my stuff. I sent around a list of things I had to sell at work, and then felt horrible when half a dozen people all desperately wanted my television. More than that, though, there’s having to work out what to do with the things that I don’t easily sell– and I think that will simply come down to ‘sell to a secondhand dealer even though they won’t give me very much because I have a deadline and enough else to stress about right now, thanks very much’.
Then there are the little things. The teapot and teacups I bought while on a family holiday one year; the wine glass and decanter set; my anthropomorphised silver coffee pot and milk jug; my pirate marionette from Prague. Sure, it can all go into boxes and my parents will store them for a few years until I figure out what I’m doing on a more permanent basis, but… will I still care about these things in two years? In five? They’re all just things. But they’re my things. My thoughts go around in circles.
My parents came over on the weekend and helped me pack up a lot of my stuff. There’s only really the kitchen, now, plus my clothes and what’s left in the bathroom. There’s still furniture to be gotten rid of– I’m still trying to sell it– but the bulk of everything is in progress. I’ll be glad when it’s just all done and I’m out of this apartment, as sad as I am to leave this place. Of course, I’ll also be glad when my visa finally comes through (my paperwork is all in Manila– why Manila? I have no idea– at the moment, and I’m waiting, waiting, waiting).
I also had to say goodbye to my parents this weekend. They leave for their next big trip on Thursday, and so I won’t see them again until… sometime. Next year, probably. That’s a very strange feeling for me, as someone who has always lived in the same city as her parents. I can go months without seeing them (or I used to), but this is different. I’m dreading the rest of the goodbyes. On the other hand, I’m glad not to do them at the airport. I have a 6am flight, so I will be staying in an airport hotel the night before, and there will be no one to see me off. It’s for the best; I hate goodbyes.
In three weeks, I will be on a plane. I’ll have already transited through Manila (it seems I have to go there, too – or at least, my flight takes me there), and on my way to London.