I packed up my apartment today when I got back from work today. My roommate flew home to Switzerland on Sunday so I’m by myself, lying on the living room floor while the hum of the dishwasher keeps me company.
Six months of life in Seattle lies across from me, conveniently tucked into an 18x18x24 cardboard box from Home Depot and a black Samsonite suitcase. The image is almost a little difficult for me to comprehend. The thought that keeps playing in my mind is “Is this it?” I mean I spent 6 months, almost 1% of my life in this city, and all I have to show for it are some articles of clothing that I’m subliminally thinking about throwing away.
When I was in high school, I was heavily influenced by this movie called Up in the Air. It’s about this man named Ryan Bingham who lives as materially detached from the world as possible - he has a suitcase with clothing in it, an empty apartment, no wife, no kids, no house. He has no real possessions and the lack of obligation keeps him happy and content. It’s only when he falls in love with a woman and thinks about settling down that his world unravels and he becomes unhappy.
I remember being mesmerized by the movie and watching it on a loop. I was so taken with the movie that I secretly confided to close friends that my future dream job was traveling around the country firing people.
My biggest takeaway from the movie was that I should aspire to BE Ryan Bingham and live with as few as possessions as possible. And now, after 2.5 years of being away from home, I can reflect on the fruits of labor and applaud myself for doing an exemplary job of carrying out said aspirations. Almost everything I’ve bought (whether it be bedding, electronics, supplies) has been chucked or donated at the end of each year.
The only time I caved was when I bought a 60+ inch LCD TV with the bonus the startup I was working for paid me. It turned out to be a monumental mistake as the cost to ship the TV home and back to Boston was almost as expensive as the TV itself.
I love this lifestyle of being able to pack and leave almost instantly, but parts of me are starting to doubt to wonder if this detachment is really worth it. After all, I’ve crisscrossed the country, had some incredible experiences, lived larger than anyone else I know, and yet, have nothing to show for these times except the memories that play in my own mind.
These doubts plague me because I realize that in a little more than 2 years, I have the opportunity to come back to Seattle and start my adult life here. I have two divergent options - I can either choose this life of mobility by continuing to rent furnished apartments and keeping possessions to a bare minimum, or I can sacrifice that freedom by laying down roots and building something a more little substantial.
Yikes. My commitment alarm is going off.
Either way, I have two years to think about it who and what I want to be. I wish I could suspend impending adulthood cause it’s coming on fast.