The Big Split

Mexico No Filters - breaking up with Austin

When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you get comfortable and settled, even if you really aren’t happy with the arrangement any longer. Untangling the knots that hold you together, no matter how dysfunctional, is So. Much. Work. But at some point you know you have to cut through those knots, let the bits fall, and start clean.

Am I talking about my relationship with my partner? No. I’m talking about my relationship with the city we live in. What I’m saying is Austin is breaking up with us hard. I suppose that is to be expected, right? Both of us have been here for decades. DeLora was drawn here by her university experience. I got here later, but was part of the wave of migration to Austin that has changed the city from What Was Cool to an increasingly corporate feeling big city that resembles nothing either of us was drawn to. And yeah, I realize I’m part of the problem.

Mexico No Filters - Quarantined
The flu was not kind to us – but then, we didn’t like it much either.

So right after Christmas, just as this move out of Austin was coming down hard and we were getting ready to sell the house like for real, my partner and I got hella sick with the flu. It was a whopper of a virus that came along with an opportunistic bacterial respiratory infection. Yippee! During all of this my mother in law went into ICU with pneumonia. And there were plumbing problems from hell in the house we’ve lived in for going on 11 years which we had never experienced before.

Austin and the house we love aren’t taking this all that well. They are making it a physical struggle even while they are making it easy to emotionally disconnect, cuz who wants to stick around for that kind of abuse?

Stuff Issues

Did you ever see the movie Apollo 13? There is a point in the movie where the crew has to jettison anything that is unnecessary in order to complete their journey. That’s what the past several months have been here. My partner and I are moving to a foreign country, maybe the first of several. Who knows? All I know is it is time to travel, to simplify our lives, and to lift our heads out of the bubble that we were born into and see the world from a new perspective.

Mexico No Filters - Empty garage
The emptiest our garage has been since 2007. Stuff: jettisoned!

We started this journey more than a year ago, selling off things that didn’t serve us, and improving our house for sale. It’s happened in waves. The most recent wave started with the KonMari method of laying everything out by categories and jettisoning anything that no longer brings joy. The only things left are those that bring a smile and that feel good to have around.

As it turns out, that still wasn’t sufficient. We pared everything down to what seemed like a manageable chunk of belongings, but as the move date has drawn closer and closer we have realized that we still have Way Too Much. Basically, if it won’t fit in the back of an extra cab pickup with a locking camper shell or a Subaru Forester (still deciding on that), it can’t come along.

Why not store it, you ask? Because People Who Have Done This all agree that you end up paying more in storage fees than it would have cost to just repurchase any item you actually discover you need. The same people also agree that you really don’t need even a fraction of the stuff you think you do. And it’s true. All of the stuff I have stored in the “manageable” pile in the garage? I haven’t opened those boxes in months and really haven’t needed most of it.

So today is the last day of The Big Moving Sale. I’ve advertised like mad on Facebook and a great local neighborhood app called NextDoor. Stuff is leaving my house as money is coming in from the sales items. For the record, I basically have no problem with this. I seriously think I could probably walk out the door with a suitcase full of clothes and personal hygiene products, art supplies, some of my favorite few kitchen items, and stuff for my cats and never look back. I’m a purging fool by nature.

Mexico No Filters - The Hero
DeLora conquering her stuff.

But my wife has some stuff issues. It’s not that she is materialistic, but items she owns are often highly charged with memories and experiences. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen her pick up a Thing from a Box and tell me that 30 years ago she got this at….. Each thing is a storage archive. She has lived in a sea of memories, a catalogue of her life in three dimensions. I cannot imagine the courage or the grief it has taken her to part with it. If anyone is the hero in this post, it’s her.