I’ve moved a number of times in my life. Every time I go through the same dance: sorting, sifting, culling, deciding what to toss and what to keep. Schlepping many mountains of stuff across airplanes makes you intentional about what you keep, and what you don’t.

Is this worth the weight of lugging it through the airport?

My Kitchenaid mixer made it as part of my carry-on luggage in 2012. I got a number of strange and bewildered looks from the travel security folks on the way from San Francisco to New York.

Each time there’s an easy pile — the “of course I’ll toss those” objects.

I realize that I’ve accumulated clutter in clothing and books yet again.

There’s the other side that’s also intuitive to know: “the things I will definitely keep.” I keep my comfort blankets, my yoga pants, my laptop. And I keep the hand-made bowls my husband and I made on our pottery date. We were bewildered at how perfectly they aligned and stacked with each other, and we kept them. They aren’t just bowls; they’re a story of when we dated.

But the middle is messy.

What do I keep and what do I let go of?

There are books with some value, some meaning. There are books that I want to read, should read.

Oops, there’s that “should” word. That’s a clue.

Let it go.

Invariably, however, it’s guesswork in the middle.

And each time, I dance at the edge of the line. And I find that once or twice every time, I let go of something that I wish I had kept.

There’s a kernel of regret that forms in my stomach, and I think, “Oooh. I really did like that.”

And this feeling: this knot of knowing. This aftermath of uncertainty.

It is a clue. And it is a gift.

It means that I inched towards the edge of my comfort zone. It means I let go of something I cared about, and perhaps I learned more about what I cared about simply by letting it go.

My definitions grow stronger with mistakes.

And I find a way to love this edge. Because if I never engage with it — if I never feel an ounce of regret, or a moment of the sting of forgetting: then I won’t know for sure that I was there.

There. Dancing in the edge of uncertainty, finding my own place of knowing.

And the pang is not painful.

It is a pang that reminds me that
I was there.

And that
I chose
to engage.