Taking Out The Trash

For my non-American friends, I could refer to taking out the rubbish. But, let’s be honest. In the war of the English language, somehow or other, “Americans” stole the world-wide rights. Even while many Americans deploy slightly annoying English (the difference between “less” and “fewer” is not complicated, folks), and use a self-referencing term that refers to two continents for just one country. Worse for actual English people, there is no actual name for the American variation of “English”, just to color (hee-hee) the context and add to the general confusion.

I shall retire my inner wordsmith and teasing for now. In a month or so, I might explain why I referenced all this.

Ever get told to “move on”? (I tried to find out if this is an American or English expression, but it’s harder to find the etymology or derivation of a phrase versus a single word). It applies in both the physical and mental/emotional sense.

I’m doing both.

Since the middle of 2013, I have had this apartment as a base. As the owner of a house for years, I swore I would never live in an apartment again, but getting divorced tends to make one’s wallet lighter.

In my case, I decided to settle for an all-in-one settlement rather than pay varying amounts of spousal support for a long period of time. This meant that I emptied my wallet, piggy bank, stash, safe deposit box, funds, and everything else with money in. I might look like a beggar on the street when you wander by, but that’s only temporary. I have a good income and fewer financial demands now, so I will recover. But feel free to buy me a coffee until then…

As I was saying, my apartment. I’ve had it for almost two years. It’s time to move on. My lease is up in a week and I am surrounded by empty space and boxes, and my nearby storage unit is bulging. This is no longer the bustling “SD” space that it was. (Have you noticed that I am no longer Separated Dad?) This room even has an echo now.

To use what I am sure is an American term, down-sizing was a difficult thing to do when I moved out of a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house into a two-bedroom apartment. Just my garden tools would’ve been a challenge to store. As part of moving into the apartment, I left behind a lot of possessions. As well as treasured memories. I worked hard on that house. I lived and loved in there, and had to let it go. An income only stretches so far. In the real sense of it, I grieved the loss of the house and my life in it. In that respect, I had my “family life” there and I had “my life” there, and as I moved on from the first one, I still had to let go of the second one. Stress is such a strange thing — it can hit in odd ways and for unexpected reasons.

Now I have down-sized again. Maybe half of the things I brought to this apartment have been thrown out, given away, given to charity, or sold off (Side note: Craigslist might be an easy place to offer something for sale, but getting buyers to minimize the haggling is difficult).

In other words, for the second time, I have taken out the trash.

Again, it’s been both a draining and liberating experience. My girls had the chance to take what they wanted before they moved out. They left behind, for disposal, things that mean nothing to them anymore. But to me, they often represented memories of the little girl that was passionate about giraffes, or being a fireman, or music. Letting go of those things doesn’t destroy the memories, but it does remind of how they’ve grown up and moved on. We expect to teach our kids how to live and plan to herd them out the door when they’re ready, but forget that doesn’t mean we’re always ready at the same time.

Equally, I found that my visits to the County Dump (or Waste Transfer Station, as they prefer to call it, so that no one can find it in the County directory) were liberating. As I came back, brushing dirt of me and out of the minivan (yes, I still have that, as well as my normal car), I felt an odd sense of release. I’d not just dumped boxes or an old bed, but also cleared my mind a little.

I can’t speak for you, but by the time I was 20, my parents had somehow managed to throw out most of the things from my childhood. I wasn’t looking for them at the time, so I didn’t realize it then. It was only years later that I thought about the drawing that won an Art prize in first grade, or the poster of some rock star, or the certificate for doing something that deserved…a certificate. For my kids, they will one day have much the same experience. They will get to 40 and wonder if maybe they should’ve held on to more. Or, they will be glad to turn a page (is that an American or an English expression?) on a chapter in their life that has as many bad memories as good.

Speaking for me, I can’t hold on to everything. I have to move forward. I have to let go and forge my own path now. The girls will never be gone from my life, regardless of geography. They will no doubt still need Dad. Maybe they will be able to afford to buy me a coffee? 🙂


About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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9 Responses to Taking Out The Trash

  1. Purging is good my friend!!! Here is to your new life and a big adventure xoxxo

  2. anne says:

    Great blog, sd. Taking out the trash, sorting and purging, mourning and moving on leaves room for new adventures. We have no idea what loveliness is in store for us. Some days all I knew was to keep vacuuming and clearing, preparing for the new…

    Great to see you!

    • Single Dad says:

      You’re right. There are times where just going the routines is both somewhat cathartic and as much as you can do. I’ve been there before. Things are finally looking up though.

  3. Great to have you back. I’d love to know why you are moving…. Or are you purging and packing in prep for a big adventure?

  4. Caroline says:

    Downsizing has its bonuses as I too discovered. I now live in a house far smaller than I ever imagined I would but with much less need on upkeep.

    We all need, in our own ways, to create the launching pad for tomorrow’s adventures. The trick is to make the launch pad the best place to launch from xxxx

    • Single Dad says:

      Thanks Caroline, a good observation. I like it, “the launching pad for tomorrow’s adventures”! With my girls mostly grown now, I no longer feel stuck, spinning in place, but more able to look forward. Maybe it won’t be adventures, but at least it’s time to make my own decisions.

  5. TikkTok says:

    Boxes in the attic. By the end of it, my mom had boxes in the attic. And some point, the boxes were given to the respective owners as Christmas presents.

    I’ve actually done a bit of purging. I had been packing around kid’s clothes for eons. The only ones I saved were the ones I made. I’ve got a box of baby toys for visiting grandkids {10 years + away, lol} and that’s about it.

    The thing I have the hardest time doing anything with are books. I have a ton of kid’s books in good condition. I think I’ll leave them packed.

    I’ve reached the point where it’s time to organize the yarn stash so I can actually see what I have and shop at home.😀

    But ya. It’s cathartic.

  6. Lady E says:

    Hawwww, SD, we’ve been out of touch for far too long … It’s good to “hear” from you. You have been through the mills in the last few years, and in every possible sense. Throughout it, you have stood up, fought for others, been resilient : I think it’s hardly surprising that now things have calmed down, a bit of melancholy for all that was lost seeps in.
    Anyway, I’m buying you a virtual coffee today. We need to catch up on Skype or facetime ! x

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