Disassembly Required

The couch left first, about a month ago. My bed went next. A week after that, the kitchen table and chairs walked away. Unworn clothes, unwanted gifts, and unused kitchenware, old books, plants, and appliances have all gone. Things I have dragged around for thirty years; same box, new place. Things that I never liked, things I felt obligated to hold onto. No more. They are all gone.

Assembling a life is often an unconscious thing. Pieces come together a little at a time, each with some emotional tie. The slow accumulation is almost unnoticed, a new job here, a new chair there, a blender, an end table, a relationship, occasionally mixed with a toy, say a bike or skis, a bigger house, more rooms to hold more stuff.

So often we come into our adult self in the form of an unconscious, slowly accumulated, life. We are pieces of our childhood and our schooling, our learned behaviors and inherited objects glued together with time, maybe with love. We do not always see that these things formed us but we do not have to be them alone. We can choose what to keep, what to give away, and what to change. This requires first taking apart the pieces.

Disassembling the life I have accumulated has been almost an act of joy. Removing the physical objects has been emotionally cathartic. Yes, it has been difficult to choose what stays and what goes. Yes, I have mixed feelings about many things I have given away. Yes, there may be some regret down the road. Regardless, I feel like a house that has been gutted in preparation for a complete remodel. The 1950s asbestos tile? Gone. The 70s shag rug? Oh, so gone. The 80s avocado-colored refrigerator? Yup, junked. The bad 90s couch? Toast.

It is my turn to be refurbished, to build an all-new interior. I will start with an open floor plan so there are no walls, new windows for lots of light and beautiful views, and new floors for a solid grounding. Nothing that is not beautiful, functional, and joyful can enter this new space. The exterior may look a little worn but there is a new life being assembled inside, this time with careful thought.

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