Remember that liberating feeling you had the first time you slipped into the seat behind the steering wheel all by yourself? That moment when you pushed down on the accelerator and there was no one there to tell you to, “Slow down?” Recall the way the breeze felt as you rolled down the windows and cranked up the music? It was liberating, exciting and powerful all at once.
As the years pass, that kind of moment becomes more muted. Even graduation from college, while notable, didn’t quite send my heart into the stratosphere. Getting married was exciting and magical but not exactly liberating. Having children was awesome and miraculous but again, keeps one on the course of restraint not emancipation.
Having spent my life making commitments, taking on responsibilities and gathering possessions, this was the year to let much of that go. I began with the ‘stuff.’ Craig’s list sold fully a third of the house from tap shoes and teacups to basketballs and the barbecue grill. Two garage sales and friends carted off the rest.
My grandmother’s antique, bedroom set, which I’ve moved for some 40 years, now sits in an 18 year-old’s bedroom. Her mother wanted to surprise her with ‘real furniture’ when she returned from her first year in college. The sleigh beds my daughters once slept in, are now in the home of a woman who has suddenly taken in two teenage boys. Our unique, metal bookcase graces the showroom of a woman starting her own design business. Our old, fire pit lights up the backyard of a house full of college students. Even my houseplant of 10 years happily sits in the windowsill of a 23 year-old’s very, first apartment. She bought it because, “My dad was always growing something and I wanted to show him that I could do it, too.” Occasionally, she even calls me for advice on how to keep it healthy.
Now that my possesions have been scattered, the house sold and the movers have gone, I am driving west. The windows are open. The music is pumping and there is a big smile on my face. It is even bigger than the one I had all those years ago when I was first behind the wheel. This one holds years of wonderful memories along with the ones that others are yet to make with the things I once treasured but no longer need. I feel liberated, excited and powerful all over again!