People had a lot of questions for me when I said I was moving to South Korea. People wanted to know if I spoke Korean (no). If I knew anyone here (no). If I had ever taught before (no). Why Korea? (I’m not sure). But one of the questions I seemed to get over and over was “What are you going to do with all your stuff?”
People were very curious about this aspect of my move. Given, it was a bit of a hassle to reduce my life materially into 2 suit cases and loose the rest. But a bit of a hassle is nothing in comparison to this life changing opportunity (and I don’t use that term loosely). If you are interested in making a big move but what is holding you back is all your stuff then I implore you to jump that hurdle. You probably don’t need a lot of the things you are hanging on to. You probably don’t need most of the things you are hanging on to. You will feel better, lighter and more empowered if you take the time to turn a discerning eye to your material possessions and rid yourself of everything holding you down.
I had a bit of a head start when I made the choice to move here. I have been in constant motion since 2009. I’ve been busy following my itchy feet and every time I move I have been forced to pack up everything I own. This has given me the opportunity to constantly evaluate what I need and what I don’t. With each repetition of this cycle, more and more gets left behind.
During each move I roll my eyes at all the useless items I have acquired. Many of which I have never used or only used a couple times. It’s all just junk, taking up space and bogging me down. It wasn’t until I moved to Korea that I really made the commitment to ridding myself of the majority of my material possessions.
The process was a little painful. I brought around 5 trash bags full of clothes to goodwill. I left my skis behind, which I loved. I left behind running shirts from races I had competed in with my dad. I got rid of books I had been hanging onto forever with the very best intentions of one day reading. I got rid of every trophy I had ever won. It was hard in the moment but the truth is, I don’t need shirts to remember crossing the finish line. I don’t need trophies to validate my worth. I don’t need shirts that don’t fit or are no longer (read: were never) in style. What I do need, is room for growth.
The first few weeks in Korea I would remember a certain item and think about how I wish I had it still. Time has passed and I have adjusted to what I have and I never think about the things I don’t own anymore. I have forgotten all about them.
So much of what we have drags us down and holds us there. So much of what we have fills up our space and takes away from richer and more fulfilling parts of life. So much of what we have takes up our precious energy and does not serve us in return. You can get stuck in the cycle of working hard to acquire things but once you get them, you don’t feel satisfied and want more. Your new toys seem less shiny, you get sick of them and want something else. Wouldn’t you rather spend that energy on acquiring meaningful experiences? Wouldn’t you rather spend that energy on slowing down and enjoying the beauty around you? Take a serious look at the stuff in your life and ask yourself about its importance.
The thing is, stuff is replaceable. But once you start getting rid of things and feel the exhilaration of freedom you will not need or want to replace it.
If there is a big leap you want to take but your stuff is holding you back, I urge you seriously think about. You can always replace your belongings, but you can’t replace your opportunities.