In 2007 I stepped away from a career that I had been building for nearly twenty-years. This career path had culminated in a six-figure position in the corporate offices of one of the largest financial institutions in the United States. In my personal life, I was responsible for mortgage payments on a half-a-million dollar loft, car payments, credit card payments, homeowner association dues, professional organization dues and more. My monthly expenses were averaging $6000. I also had panic attacks, migraines and nightmares.
But even after walking away from the bank, I continued to try to carry it all. For two more years, I did consulting work which paid the bills for a bit, but by the end of 2009 I was suffering from severe exhaustion, the bills had falling behind, and I had gained fifty-pounds. So, I called all the creditors; the mortgage company, the credit union, the credit card companies, and my bankruptcy attorney. Freedom was at hand.
Moving into a lovely one-bedroom apartment required a lot of downsizing. But instead of letting go of all that didn’t fit into this new reduced sized life – I got a storage unit. For five-years at an average cost of two-hundred and five dollars per month which comes to around $15,000 I have been holding on to the remnants of my past life. This weekend, I sorted through the dusty storage unit and faced the ghosts of my past.
I was able to fill three trash boxes with mounds of documents from my banking and non-profit management career, I released three boxes of design, management, and fiction books that will be sold or donated. I released six pairs of shoes, a trunk of office supplies, a huge box of party supplies (disposable forks, serving plates, cups, bowls). Over the next few days many of these items will find new homes.
I kept a few things, the certificates of appreciation and recognition, the family pictures from my old desk, a few African decor design books, a leather duffle bag that I used to move to Oakland in 1997.
With the emptying of the storage space, I am truly free of the burdens of the past. I am now able to fully live in the present. Unburden.