In a rash and unfounded moment of indecision I decided that I would pack my life up into eleven small brown paper boxes and tape them shut, then write the name of whatever happened to be contained inside each on an upper flap, so as to easily reassemble everything when the time comes to do so.

I stacked the eleven boxes on top of one another in the southwest corner of my living room with what I felt to be the weightiest on the bottom so as to support the lesser pieces in their ascent to the beveled ceiling.

With everything quite in order I took a rest and drank a cup of chamomile tea and stared from box to box, considering what there is to do with such an unprecendented and neat compilation of everything in my life that, when left to be where it would choose to be, seems so overbearing and insurmountable, but now, so surprisingly manageable and presentable.

I called over friends and family, had a quiet party of co-workers and associates, hired a small but successful catering company to create pastries and appetizers for my guests. We stood in a quarter-circle that looked like an audio wave coming from my neatly packaged life and if we made a sound, it would be one of collective admiration tinged with resonating relief. I led my guests in a toast to the boxes and everyone clapped happily.

My gathering began to disperse, as gatherings will do, and I asked the ten closest people in my life -- mostly made up of family and friends, and two ex-lovers to suit the bill -- to please wait with me until the rest of my guests had departed, for I had decided in a quick moment during the post-toast musings what I would do with my life and wanted them to all be a part of the somewhat unorthodox presentation.

Soon the eleven of us stood together in my living room and I gave each one a box without looking at the contents that were labeled on the upper flap. Each of them thanked me and left with a smile, except one of the ex-lovers who apparently had gotten the box labeled "Need," and was displeased with this as she claimed to be already too familiar with the contents of that box.

I apologized, mentioned that I was really quite surprised that all of it had managed to fit into the one small box, and mentioned she needn't open it, but hold it as a memory of sorts, place it on a mantelpiece or in a sockdrawer, that it was all the same to me.

She left seeming lighter and less worried about the commitment. I got about cleaning the apartment and putting everything back into order. After a long and exhaustive process of scrubbing and drying, I sat down in a chair to inspect the box that I had been left with, and feeling pleased with the prospect of leading a more focused and simplified life.