December 19, 2016
I came to a decision in the autumn of 2016, as I looked around at our ever crowded small house that I needed to let go of a number of things – possessions that were no longer fulfilling any true purpose. I questioned why I still held on to them.
Then I fell very ill in December and required hospitalization. While the IV dripped antibiotics as I lay in the hospital bed, I had much time to think and reconsider my life. The questions that I had been ruminating over before I fell ill now were magnified and screaming. If I died what have I left behind? I have had varied obsessions and false focuses. Often I have focused on material goods. I did not want to leave this mass of tangled obsessions and material things for my loved ones to sort after I was gone.
As I said earlier, I had already begun to untangle myself. I had sorted a few things here and there. A small beginning but a start none the less. When decorating for Christmas we decided to let go of some ornaments and decorations. This led to sorting through unused Christmas cards I’d kept from past years, pieces of pack we’d mailed out. I put them all in a box to go to charity. Why had I kept them? [In case I needed them? – after 8 or 10 years if they haven’t been used, they probably wouldn’t be used. Let it go.] I moved on to my collected cards and stationary. After sorting through it, I decided to let go of quite a few various occasion cards – birthday, anniversary, get well soon, sympathy. Some of these I’d had for YEARS. Again, if I hadn’t used them by now, would I ever?
And there is the question I should be putting to ALL of my belongings which I have steadily gathered. If I have not used them by now, will I ever? Why do I keep them then? If there is no reason to keep it, no sentimental attachment, no true purpose, then it is time for it to leave my life and depart my house.
I applied this question to a mass of notepads that had piled up from charity mailings. I had not asked for them, yet I had kept them. Why? [In case I needed them – If I hadn’t used them up in a year or two, then I probably never would.] It was past time for them to go. So I added them to the box to go to charity. I also sorted through a few of my files and notebooks. Information on topics that had caught my fancy. Information that now holds no sway for me. I put paper goods into recycling or in the shredder. Notebooks and files were either tossed out, reused, or put into the charity box.
The progress is slow. My body is still fighting an infection. I will move through all my possessions. I know my books will be the hardest to sort. But I have bought more than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime. If I do not love a book after reading it, if I will not return to re-read it time and again, then I need to release it. I had already started donating some books which didn’t sell on eBay to the ARC (a local program that helps special needs people in the community) for their library. Their library was just so small when I toured their facilities all I could think was that my own collection was ten times the size. I made a vow then to give them what I would not keep.
I do not wish to just disentangle myself. If I can help others then I will do it. Let all that I so foolishly gathered and hoarded go to help so many others. My goals for 2017 are simple. I must do all I can to mend and heal myself. Not just for the sake of others but for myself. But those details are for another post. I will continue to untangle myself from material possessions. Unburying myself. I will continue to ask myself why I have kept something, does it still fit into my life, is there someone else who could use it more.
January 19, 2017
Since writing down the aforementioned thoughts I have moved forward in my goals in small ways here and there. I’ve sorted some of my clothes (short and long sleeved shirts to be exact), purses, and scarfs. I’ve also cleared a lot of paperwork from my desk either by filing them or tossing/shredding them. I still have much to do.
Aside and perhaps along with the idea of letting things go, there is the question of why I have hung on to other things in life. I plan to apply this to non-material things as well. All the sewing, crafting, and art projects I’ve held onto yet haven’t completed or, in some cases, haven’t even started, am I really REALLY going to get around to doing them? If not, then is it time to let it go?
The biggest question I’m facing is, what about my writing? In therapy I figured out that my writing had a place when I was younger. The stories/fantasies that I created in my childhood were an escape from the things that were going on around me. [My childhood was not as pleasant as one would hope for.] But I’m not in those same circumstances now. Also, it is becoming harder for me to sit down and complete the story/book ideas that come to me. I have thought I wanted to be a writer since I was 12 years old. Now, I’m not so sure that is the right fit for me. I’ve read what different writers have said online about what it takes to be a writer and the actual creation seems like it’s only 20% of what is needed. Writers have to be strong and able to take criticism. They have to have thick skin. They have to be organized and have a bit of business sense. I feel that I’m lacking in many of these regards. So after 35 years of assuming that my career will eventually be that of a writer, I question whether this is just a childhood fantasy that became more like an obsession. I fantasized about writing great novels and having throngs of readers. Perhaps this was just a manifestation of my need to find a way to fit in, a way to feel wanted/included.
I have a lot of work to do in 2017. Not just with cleaning out my closets and downsizing and letting go, but with reorganizing my life. I’m probably (hopefully) at the midpoint in my life. I may live to be in my 80’s or even 90’s. So what do I do with the rest of my life? Do I give up on things I’ve played at for 25 or 35 years? Or do I redouble my efforts? Where do I go from here? This isn’t a fantasy, a musical, or a best seller. I can’t rely on a happily ever after ending. This is life in real time. How is that time best spent – for me, for my family?