Monday, December 29, 2014

Letting go, clearing space

My post at YAOTL this month celebrated the beauty of holiday breaks, and the restfulness (for many of us) of this week before New Year's. I am generally not good at letting go of the holidays, returning to the hectic routines of regular life. I am not good at letting go in general.

But 2014 was a year of letting go. Things I had hoped for didn't happen. Things I'd had once could not be kept. I also began seriously decluttering my physical space--a project that will take quite a while, but I can see improvements already. I became willing to let go of some things I've been accumulating and holding onto all my life.

People my age often have grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. And while my own grandparents were not hoarders, I did know of what I call "Depression hoarders." These were people who had survived that era when you had to save everything--every bit of string, every scrap of soap--and even when times improved, they were unable to shed their fear of waste and impoverishment. So they never threw anything away, and their homes filled with stuff. People who cleaned their houses after Depression hoarders had passed on described the stacks of newspapers, the piles of cans, the balls of rubber bands. The glass jars and even the plastic microwave trays and styrofoam packaging.

I am not a Depression-style hoarder, but I don't like waste and I have kept things "just in case" or "because they're too good to get rid of." One thing I've been gaining, though, is the willingness to let things go. I used to think that if something came into my life, I was obligated to hold onto it until it disintegrated. Which explains why my recent cleaning efforts have turned up shoes I haven't worn in 10 years, clothing I haven't worn in 20. A gag gift someone gave me in college that has been gathering dust on the top shelf of my closet. A picture I clipped out of a newspaper back when the Berlin Wall was still standing. Electrical bills from the apartment I lived in before I got married.

I'm clearing things out because it will give me breathing room, but also because I'm hoping to have more room for new things in my life in 2015.

4 comments:

  1. I think you made great strides in 2014 with letting go of things, both in the physical sense and mental sense. The newly found physical and head space will make room for more beautiful words and ideas. May 2015 be a year of fresh creations, bigger gains, and beautiful worlds for you!

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    1. I think I am only getting started on letting go. But thank you, Mieke, for this beautiful wish! I hope the new year brings you joy and fulfillment as well.

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  2. 2015 will be an interesting year, I think. I went through three months of decluttering in 2014, and I have a feeling come spring, I will be decluttering even more. I got rid of SO much stuff, but amazingly enough, there's STILL more. It's crazy! I love that you're on a similar journey as me. :)

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    1. Several of my friends seem to be decluttering. It's a time of change, of reevaluation, of paring down.
      And like you, I find it's a process. We don't let go of everything on the first pass, or even the second.

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