I am finally taking some time to myself in order to write; with the move coming up fast, things have been crazy around my home with packing, sorting, cleaning and holding a moving sale. All of this work has given me a chance to let my mind wander, and has brought something very important to my attention.
I'm sure that everyone has at least heard of the television show “Hoarders”. I watched half an episode once, and found myself shaking my head, wondering what could compel a person to behave and live in such a way. Well, whilst cleaning out my closets (in every sense of the term), I reluctantly have come to the realization that I am a hoarder. Not to the extreme of being unhealthy, but I have a hard time letting go of “things” that hold any kind of meaning for me.
While sifting through boxes upon boxes of loose papers, ribbons, photos, spelling tests and artwork of my daughters', it occurred to me that I held onto WAY too much of it! Why? Because I felt as though these “things” are my memories, my life. When I stopped to think about it, I began to realize just how silly I was. These things sat in the back of a closet for years, being moved from one house to the next, just because I didn't have the courage to let them go. Once in a while (usually when I was preparing for a move) I peeked through the boxes, then sealed them back up, and pushed them back into the closet. I had attached so much meaning to these things, that it brought me to tears just to think about throwing them away.
This epiphany gave me reason to ponder, and ponder I did. Aside from the extremely important things (awards, photos, and the odd handmade craft), all that I had were scraps of paper. I was defining my life (and to some extent, my love of my children) using scraps of paper. We can't experience every moment or memory for our entire lives ~ there would be no time for the new experiences that greet us every day. The memories live within me; my children and every breath they take are imprinted onto my soul, and no slip of paper could ever even begin to measure up to that knowing.
With this new attitude, I downsized, big time. I kept the most important mementos, and released the rest with love and gratitude for each and every one of them. I now have a small, old-fashioned suitcase that holds photos, along with my reduced and simplified collection of memoirs. The most beautiful part of it is that I kept the things that can be displayed during specific times; handmade Mother's Day hand prints, Christmas ornaments, clay Easter eggs. This means that they won't collect dust in the back of my closet for years at a time, and will be displayed for others to see and share.
So, clean out your closets (again, in every sense of the phrase), and purge those things that don't serve you, no matter how much you love them. They are only things, and things do not create your life-long memories; your children, friends, family and experiences do. Reminisce about your past memories, then look forward to creating many, many more!