29 April 2009

Regarding packing

A few weeks ago I watched the movie "Australia" with my Aussie friend, Janette. It was a lovely movie, and I have a newfound appreciation for the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", the concept of the "walkabout", and the attraction of Hugh Jackman.

Beyond those, there was a quote in the movie that really resonated with me. Hugh Jackman's character "The Rounder" is with the prissy city woman (Nicole Kidman) who came looking for her husband in the Australian Outback, and he tells her what he's about:

"Most people like to own - y'know, land, luggage...people - makes them feel secure, but all that can be taken away. In the end, the only thing you really own is your story...[I'm] just trying to make it a good one."

I'm at the point of starting to consider my life as represented by my material possessions. Trying to condense your life into two 50-lb trunks will do that to you! Currently I have about 40-50 lbs of books alone, leave aside clothes and shoes and taco spices.

Basically I'm having to make some calls about how I identify myself through my stuff. Even my books are a judgement call, because I can't bring even half of the books I want to have with me, so which books do I really need? (Need? I don't need books to live, although sometimes it feels that way...)

Indeed, it is nice to have stuff. It's nice to feel ownership, but the truth is that stuff slows you down. That's why it's taking me months to trim down my collection of books and other things to a still generous amount of stuff that the airlines will let me carry over to Tanzania for free. It's both a privilege and a burden to own things. Am I secure enough to let go?

1 comment:

thatoneguy said...

It's so easy in this country to deceive ourselves into thinking that we need everything (I have have way too many books, too). I've essentially been living out of a duffel bag for the last 10 days, though, and it's a good reminder of how truly unnecessary all of the stuff is. It's freeing to let go (even temporarily (and it does help when your friends are generous)).