Hello, Ego! (A Beth Bierko Post)

We are T-12 days to leaving our home of 17 years and 1 day away from the estate sale that we hope will whisk away most of our belongings. It has been a long and bittersweet process for me, delightedly rifling through old letters and photographs, unloading items I have kept for way too long like old prom gowns and report cards, as well as reluctantly choosing which household treasures will be kept and stored, which will be taken along for the ride and which ones sold/ or given away. Among those that haven’t made the cut to be kept are our living room furniture and many of my wedding gifts – china, crystal, and silver that rarely, if ever, get used.

When getting married, Scott suggested we register at Sam Ash for musical and electronic equipment or at Tower Records (back when there was such a thing). I laughed thinking he was surely joking, but I think he knew something I didn’t at the time. We’ve used a lot more gear in these thirty years than we have the china, and we have listened to many musical recordings while drinking out of everyday glasses.

The folks we have hired to organize the estate sale have told us furniture is almost impossible to sell. Her niece bought a dining room table and six chairs in pristine condition for $10 recently. However, records are apparently a big draw and they can bring people into the house where they may buy other things.

I think I am ready to let these items go, but I can feel a creeping attachment rise as we get closer to sale day. Some of it is sentimental, remembering who gave us the silver bowl, or Waterford champagne flutes. Remembering our first holidays pulling out “the good stuff”, though we soon found it simpler to use cutlery that didn’t need polishing and dishes that were more easily accessible in the ensuing years.

Hello, Ego!

If I am really honest, there is ego here, too.

I have liked having these fine things. Even if I choose not to use them, they are there in the cabinets and I have them. Like so many other brides of my day I know I could use them if I needed to or if I wanted to impress someone, like my daughters’ imaginary future in-laws.

Our home is not ready for the cover of a magazine, but we took great care to buy what pleased us aesthetically and gave us a sense of warmth and comfort. I remember trying three or four shades of paint before we found the Cottage Red that perfectly matched our decor. We worked with the decorator at Ethan Allen to get it all “right”.

And now, I am selling these items for a pittance, or more likely giving them away, and choosing to live in “the tin can”, my euphemism for our little RV. There will be no silver or china. And crystal would likely break on the road. My best clothing is not suited to campground life or driving hours in a truck. Yet something in me clings to these early symbols of adulthood and what I perceived to be measures of class and sophistication.

Who will I be without them?

How might I be judged?

Why do I even care?

I think it is for this very reason I am choosing to send this stuff off in a different direction from where we are going. I need to find myself for who I am now, not who I was 30 years ago, or more likely, who I was told to be. To learn once and for all, that having things that are perceived as having worth is not what makes me worthy.

Simplicity and Practicality are Calling

I am more interested in improving my cooking and delighting in what’s on the plate rather than fussing over the plate itself. And I am more interested in seeing new places and new faces than trying to match the rug to the couch.

At least for now. I know for many, designing the perfect room or setting the perfect table brings great joy. And that’s ok. I am recognizing that for me, right now, it does not.

And that’s ok, too.


  1. NoelsK

    The gifts of health and self-exploration you give to your Yoga students, at least to me, from my perspective are precious. Thank you! I hope you do meet many good people and see many wonderful sights. If you end up in southern Utah we know a great dude ranch where you can ride horses (no experience required) into the most incredibly beautiful slot canyon. See you tomorrow at your estate sale!

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