Living on the road has a much greater appeal now than when I was a kid sharing a tent with a bunch of brothers. At least half of it is probably genetic, and the other half is circumstance.
I remember the family trip that formed my approach to all the packing decisions that followed. I was 16 and we had rented a motor home for a heavily planned journey around the country. As the only female teenager, I was given more latitude than the others in terms of packing. My hair accessories alone, which included soup-can rollers in those days, took up more space than my little sister. She could verify this, because she was not trapped in the bunk with me the night my head got stuck between my pillow and the ceiling. Circling my room, I gathered everything except what I knew I could leave behind.
This is the packing method I used for everything. From purse to diaper bag, car to basement, everything was ready for possible use at a moment’s notice.
Until it wasn’t.
Like car keys that keep burrowing into the bottom of your pocketbook, I eventually noticed that the convenience of owning something was no longer worth the time it took to retrieve it. So now comes the time to stop packing and start living.
Very few of us have the good fortune to start fresh at retirement. Previous decisions restrict our options. Downsizing is a tedious process that takes so long that we sometimes die before we complete the job, leaving the work to those we want least to burden. In a couple of weeks I start the process of removing my Stuff from the house where I spent half my life suffocating in, living part time in a series of small spaces, and returning to the place where I raised my children, refreshed and prepared to waltz where the baggage once covered the dance floor. And free to spike the punch bowl.