Three months down, and I’m still plugging away at my 17 for 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. So far I’ve found nine geocaches (#17), cooked up three new recipes (#13), given garden gifts to seven people (#14), and discovered four new places (#10). Brett and I have been taking swing dance/lindy hop lessons (fun!), which I’m counting as one of the (#2) new skills I promised myself I’d learn this year. My dream of completing a marathon (#1) by the end of the year is alive–but just barely. I’ll tell you why in my next post.
Only two out of the seventeen have completely fallen by the New Year’s Resolution wayside: meditating seven days a week and writing fifteen minutes every day. It’s no coincidence, I think, that these happened to be the only two that required doing something on a daily basis. Strict and inflexible does not a good resolution make, something I should have remembered from resolutions past.
The one resolution I’ve already managed to conquer this year is number 16: Rid our home of sixteen pieces of “stuff.” But hold the applause, please. I had a great deal of help on this one from some moths and a mouse (or two).
Let me explain.
When Brett and I embarked on a new flooring project in our mudroom, I vowed that once we reached the stuffed mudroom closet, I would remove every bit and box of stuff from suspended animation. I vowed to go through everything in a most heartless fashion. I vowed to purge, purge, and purge some more.
I excavated boxes of old cards and love letters. Boxes of our daughter’s baby clothes and childhood books and artwork. There was a box of musty-smelling little notebooks from my zookeeper days, notes on animal diets and behavior, births and deaths. There were tennis rackets and roller blades. Snowboard boots and a silver candelabra.
But here’s the thing: letting go of stuff–especially sentimental stuff–can be really hard. It means letting go of the past, of people and places loved and perhaps lost, of who we used to be. It means feeling guilty when we say good-bye to something someone who cared about us picked out or made just for us. It means asking ourselves some difficult questions and thinking about subjects that may be painful. I mean, I like to think that I’m not too old to strap on those roller blades and hit the trail again (probably literally), but am I ever going to do this, really? I haven’t rollerbladed in years and I was never that good at it anyway. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other active pursuits on my plate.
I remind myself that our home is only 1500 square feet. That every piece of stuff I let go of is something I will never have to clean, dust, worry about, or agonize over parting with ever again. I try to think of what my daughter–who lives in a tiny apartment–would face if her father and I both died in a car crash. Something I’d rather not think about, but still, the possibility is there. What in the world would she do with all of this stuff?
So I let the roller blades go, along with the snowboard boots. It helped somewhat that a mouse (or two) had been stashing a great deal of cat food inside them (ugh). The moths that ruined some of my daughter’s old baby and toddler clothes gave me another purging push–and a surge of guilt. Why hadn’t I let them go sooner? Those that were salvageable–except for a very select, sentimental few–I washed and donated to the thrift store.
Our home feels lighter now, less cluttered–and so do I.
I’ve let go of a lot of things in the past few months, from photos to our very first backpacking tent, but not everything. Some–like those musty keeper notebooks–are currently in limbo. I should throw them in the recycle bin. I probably will some day.
But today is not that day.
How do you feel about letting go of stuff?
Thanks for reading!