It is interesting how much we change as the years go by. People come and go in our lives, our views on life, once so black and white, have turned to gray, and material goods we once thought we could not live without, are now going out the door to serve someone else.
Yesterday was a very dark day emotionally for me. My mind was spinning with thoughts of the worlds troubles of which there are SO many! I was also dwelling on the recent death of a good friend. In fact, we have lost 3 friends in just the first 4 months of this year. Two of them were sudden enough to take my breath away. Here today, gone tomorrow, as has often been said. The finality of it for the ones who knew and loved them is jarring! There are no more chances to say what we wish we had said to them. No more chances to see their laughing faces. No more “do overs” whatsoever!
This past week for me has been filled with a lot of restless and sleepless nights. I have tossed and turned in bed as I wrestled with a lot of thoughts about what the future could possibly have in store for us. The death of good friends is a stark reminder that we are all at life’s train station with no clue about which train we will be leaving on or when.
For me, the Pandemic has certainly reinforced the Bible verse, “Be Still, and know I am God”. A year ago, most of us were yanked out of our overly busy lives of comings and going’s and dropped into the quietness of solitary (or near solitary) living. In this solitary quiet, I think many of us have discovered new facets to our inner self. Reflection is very good because it uncovers many aspects of how we think, why we see things in a certain way, and why we respond the way we do. When alone, we are not influenced by the opinions of others which frees us up to be true to our own beliefs. What I have once again discovered about myself is that I just do not want to be bothered by so much “stuff” anymore. I no longer want it here collecting dust as it takes up space in my house. I also don’t want to have to care for it. Of course, I have a few favored pieces that have sentimental value, but there are many things that come from a time in our life when each piece had a purpose to serve. These days, we live very differently than we did when our family was still young. I want to use my time differently by living large rather than caring for material goods.
As a result of my reflecting, I have reactivated my unfinished decluttering project of a couple years ago by pulling more things out of the closets, putting them in large bags and boxes, and bringing them to the thrift shop. The rule I use for now is if it hasn’t been used in 5 years, it needs to go and serve someone else. When this sweep of the house is finished, I will then conduct another “go round” where if it hasn’t been used in a year, out it goes. Each trip to the thrift shop gives me a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of becoming lighter and freer. I have been purging for a couple of years now, and it gets easier to say goodbye with every new purge.
Yesterday, I was in a text conversation with our daughter, sending pictures of things to her first before releasing it to the universe. Some things she wanted and others not. I have my wedding dress that has moved with me nine times. I always thought that maybe someone in the family would be interested in it, but as it turns out, no one is. We live in a day and age of abundance, so the younger generation isn’t nearly as caught up in the sentimental attachment to ancestral things as my generation was. I asked our daughter if she was ok with me releasing the dress and she enthusiastically said, “I think that is great! Someone is going to be so happy to be able to buy that for themselves!” (Funny…I was ok with her not wanting it.) The dress had served its purpose in its time and now maybe it would serve a new purpose for another person with a new love and new vows! Or….maybe it would be utilized in someone’s craft project. It doesn’t matter…just so it is useful!
Bit by bit, more pieces of our life go out the door. Things that were once needed and useful but no longer serve us. We say a quiet thank you to each and every thing that gets put into a bag or box for how it added or served in our life in one form or another and then we say goodbye!
Our thrift shop is owned and run by the Catholic “Ladies of Charity” and they do a fantastic business in the area in which we live. On the backs of their receipts is a list of all the charities they contribute to and there are many! I always feel so good when we bring in another load of goods from which they can make a profit and can forward the blessings of that profit on to places that need the financial support.
I wish I would have heeded a quote I heard many years ago when I was in my 30’s. My friend said, “Isn’t it interesting how we spend the first half of our life accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them?” It was profound to me at the time, but it did not stop the accumulation of things. Everything purchased was bought with the idea of our family expanding several times its original size, but it did not grow as large as I had anticipated. I also did not anticipate adult children having so much of their own stuff! We live in a day and age of ‘much too much!’ Everyone is dealing with too much stuff!
Our goal going forward is to live very simply before we die. I told our younger son that in the end, all I want is a nice room with a recliner, a bedroom, a small kitchen and a bath. He looked at me with a look of horror! haha! Of course I was kidding, but, honestly, as we age, our needs keep shrinking. A long time ago, I remember reading a card in a gift shop that caught my attention. On the front of the card was written, “The more you have”……..and, then on the inside it read, “The more you have to worry about!” No truer words have ever been spoken. The older we get, the less we want to take care of things. In our case, all of our kids live in very nice, well appointed homes. We love to go see them and spend time with them. They come here too, but not as often as we thought they would when we built the house, because everyone is busy working and living their own lives and we are all very spread out geographically.
At our home, the two of us actually only use about 4 rooms on a daily basis while the rest of the house sits unused. These rooms are the kitchen, family room, bedroom and bathroom. So, WHY do we have all this extra space? We are not in a hurry to downsize, but that seed has been planted and it is continuing to expand in our thoughts. Perhaps we will sell our house someday, and if that ever comes to fruition, we will have had a lot of the discarding done already. Yay us!
So, going forward, my incentive is to keep carrying stuff out the door! Just since last week, we have brought four large SUV loads of stuff to the thrift shop and now another large group of filled boxes and bags await the next trip over.
Well, the closets are calling to me so off I go to make more room! I am going to need more boxes! My goodness, I think the house is getting more spacious by the week! 😁
To stay vibrant and viable in this life, a person has to change with the times. We need to let go of the past and leave behind those things (and those people) who do not give back joy or serve a purpose to our life. I often think that a lot of our unhappiness and stress stems from not knowing when to loosen our attachment to things and people, and to just release!
Creating uncluttered space in a home brings peace and serenity.