Packing Light

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When I moved out of my dorm during December, I brought home two suitcases, three very large boxes, five lamps, two laundry bags stuffed to the brim and a mini futon. This year I had every intention of packing lightly for school since I’d only be at Truman for a semester, and yet I overdid it.

Though a good chunk of what I had in my dorm room was clothes, a lot of the bulkiest and most difficult items to pack were the most important — knick-knacks, sorority paraphernalia, tons of picture frames, favorite books, canvases painted by friends, a giant tapestry and mementos from past travels.

These were the objects that turned my bland dorm room with depressingly bare walls into a cozy home that felt warm every time I returned. These objects inspired me, brought back pleasant memories and made me happy. They have always been worth the extra bulk.

But when I move to France for the semester, I won’t have the luxury of filling boxes upon boxes with my trinkets — my whole life will need to fit into a suitcase and a carry-on bag.

As I’ve been tackling the task of condensing my life down into approximately four cubic feet, it’s been difficult saying “no” to the large amount of objects that technically are impractical, but to which I am emotionally attached. I know I can’t afford the space, but I feel as if I’m not truly “moving” to Angers without them.

Part of me wonders if leaving these sentimental objects behind means I’m leaving a part of myself behind. After all, the memories they incite make me who I am today, and I don’t want to travel to a foreign land without a strong sense of myself.

At the same time, without these things I can be completely new, not tied down by bulky memories — both literally and figuratively. I’ll have room to find new inspirations and make new memories. I can’t grow if I’m holding on so tightly to the safety of the past.

Even if I could bring all of these objects with me, I probably wouldn’t want or need to, because when it comes down to it, they’re just things. It will be refreshing to know that if need be, I can get along without being weighed down by boxes of tangible nostalgia.

Though I’m afraid to leave behind all of the physical objects which have provided me with comfort during my two years living away from home, I will have to let my fear of missing my reminders of the past be outweighed by excitement for new memories.