June 11th, 2012: I am editing this post and reposting it as a "public" ActiveRain post, over a year later. The original private posting on ActiveRain was the best way for me to cry out loud, That's it. Unexpectedly, I received more support than you can image from right here in the Rain.
George Carlin once opined that all Americans are concerned about is getting "more stuff"...about how our lives are consumed with getting "more stuff" at every possible moment.
About a year ago, I moved out of my home. I was moving to a smaller place, so much of my house had to be boxed up and put into storage.
Realizing that I was going to have to part with a lot of my "stuff", I started organizing my life in order of that which was most important to me.
I organized everything into three piles:
1. Stuff that I can take or leave: my KitchenAid mixer, lots of unfinished hobby projects, power tools
2. Stuff that I really need to keep: business files, computer, my bed
3. Stuff that I absolutely cannot live without.
Makes sense, right?
The biggest problem was sorting piles 1 and 2.
Pile three was another story. This was for stuff I just couldn't live without. Pile three was my pry-it-out-of-my-dead-hands pile. No matter what, pile three items will stay with me at all times, for the rest of my life.
Pile three is non-negotiable.
Like many of you reading this, I thought pile three would be the hardest; but turned out to be the easiest.
I had originally given myself one large U-Haul box to hold all of my most precious things. You know, the boxes that stand about 3 feet tall and about 2 feet wide? Come "hell or high water", I was going to get all of my most important stuff from a 2500 square foot house into that one box. It would be tough, but I was determined to figure it out.
It turned out to be much easier than I thought. In fact, I learned a very valuable life lesson that day.
This is what I ended up saving in my "can't live without" pile. In order of importance:
1. My dearly departed wife's ashes. Not the whole urn, but a pocket-sized version for easy totability. I can hold it in my hand easily; it's a little bigger than a roll of quarters.
2. The cards she gave me on every one of our wedding anniversaries-- seven cards total.
3. My favorite picture of her, which is actually attached to this post.
4. My grandmother's crucifix and St. Christopher's medal-- a Catholic powerhouse combination.
5. Paperwork: My marriage certificate, my U.S. passport, my college degrees, and my birth certificate.
That's it. That's my entire "pile three". It turns out that I never needed a big box. I know this sounds corny as all get-out, and I understand that. But I'm not being corny! My mind processed exactly like this: "If I had rags on my body, and nothing more, what could I hold in my hands?"
The most important things in my life, that which I absolutely could not live without, based on my own requirements-- all fit into one tiny shoebox, with some room to spare. A padded, legal-sized envelope would have worked just as well.
And when it all comes down to it, I bet you could fit your most beloved things into a shoebox also.