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.
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.