Nothin’ left to lose…

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”.

These Janis Joplin lyrics pop into my head all the time, (I have no idea why, I’m sure there is some deep subconscious meaning here) and they always launch me into a mental thrashing around of what freedom means to me.

Fire is a terribly frightening force.

A few weeks ago, I was woken up at midnight by pounding on my front door.  When I opened the door, there was no one there, but I saw flames shooting from the building 20 yards across the parking lot. As we all ran out into the street, the fire engulfed two condos, and before the fire fighters could put it out, 2 units were completely destroyed and a 3rd badly damaged. Thankfully there was no loss of life. It was very frightening. I did not sleep very well for the next two weeks.

After a fire, we all automatically begin making mental lists of what we would take with us as we flee. What I found very interesting about my reaction was that I began looking at everything I own more critically. I am definitely not ready to suffer losing everything, but I suddenly felt that 95% of my possessions had little real value to me. I was overcome by an urge to purge. To get rid of all of that stuff that was cluttering up my closets and shelves. One of my neighbors, who had lost everything, said “oh well, most of it was crap anyway”.  I knew she had suffered a much deeper loss recently, and I admired the way she was handling a second tragedy.

Even when we know too much stuff is oppressive, it’s so hard to get rid of it.  Fire does it for you, it cleanses the clutter, leaving space for clarity. I would not wish the trauma of a fire on anyone, but, in a sense, it must be very liberating? How freeing to have “nothing left to lose”! I have a new perspective, and inspiration to pair down to what I really value, in order to better appreciate what truly matters.

I’ll let you know if I can actually DO IT!  It will not be easy…

Live Small, Travel BIG!


6 thoughts on “Nothin’ left to lose…”

  1. You are absolutely right about our having 95 percent too much stuff. I am working on it. Much of it is books.
    This is Katrina state, as is Louisiana. Many here have lost a lot.

    I like the blog, so I’ll be back.

  2. Julie!
    I KNOW what you mean….our friends lost their house in Nov’09…and just now are moving into their nice new house this week. Thankfully they were able to save some “treasured” things–like his Mom’s handwritten cookbook of Italian family recipes…but they are glad that they got out ok most of all.

    As for purging…we’ve started to to just that as well…all the organizing books etc say if you haven’t used it in a year/if it doen’t fit etc…… get rid of it….and we have alot of that…. The best thing about not being “owned” by possessions…is you have alot more free time(not having to take care of them).

    Freedom is “nothing left to lose”…if you don’t have it…why live? Ask the vets where my Dad is….

  3. You are so right. Where does it all this junk come from? It multiplies at night while we sleep. Much of my life is spent with a machete in hand hacking back at the papers and objects that somehow walk in my front door while I am not paying attention.

  4. I LOVED the June 23 post! When are you returning to Winter Park, Florida? There have been some changes since you were here last and now we are on the Historic Towns Register. I live right downtown and would love to “show off” some of our city that you may have missed.

  5. My first step is to classify all my books using the Dewey decimal system. Then that tells me a lot about what I need, and what I only collect. Library of Congress (LOC) system sorts it all by geography, and I want to go everywhere, so it does not set priorities. Computers are probably not even in the Dewey system, except as management (658?), and many of my books are on computers. More than half of my contacts are overseas somewhere. Most countries are smaller than medium US sized towns, so why collect books like that? It does help to classify all that stuff (crap for the street savvy), and then I can decide what to vaporize.

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