Throw Out Fifty Things

Have worked full time for more than the past 25 years, and also full and part time for 10 years before that. Retired last August. Deep cleaned over the few months following August and tossed the obvious clutter.
Did not touch the less obvious stuff:
The what if I need this some day stuff--e.g., the pink dress and dyed pink shoes to match I wore to our daughter's wedding, as I hate shopping, and I could "always wear to son's wedding" if he gets married to his girlfriend.
The stuff kept for emotional reasons, including being stuck in the past, e.g., our 30 y.o. son's stuffed animal collection (? hoping he would someday come back home?, or my wanting to keep a part of the little him, whom I miss so much).
The craft supplies I accumulated (these potential experiences which were sitting in my house in lieu of me actually having time to do them, because of my draining job--eat, sleep, drag myself to work, survive to go back the next day--what a BURDEN!!
The good stuff, quality stuff collected for crafts, exercise ventures, and other things I never got to do. What if I want to do them now?
And more.
This past week, I have thrown out several easier things so far, like 40 MB of archived emails, several files of downloaded pictures, an extra printer loaned to me, work documents (had hung on to, in case I returned limited part-time), books, including a 2 volume Gary Larson set that weighed a ton. My husband, mostly, and I are redoing basement--tossed some stuff like old weights, junky storage stuff.
Am gearing up to get to work on the more difficult stuff. Have Throw Out Fifty Things and also Clutterbusting by Brooks Palmer on loan from the Carnegie Library. Both deal with clutter issues and are both excellent.
Today and tomorrow will primarily be spent on THAT diagnostic test that a lot of us in our 50s and 60s put off. Am finally biting the bullet and going through with it. Unusual, but that to-do is sort of a clutter clearing off my list. Could that count as one throw away?
Had a sort of body/mind epiphany. Was up late 2 nites ago, could not sleep. Thinking, etc. Then got this bodily sensation of "opening up"-- like a San Andreas fault in my body opened and I was peering inside myself as to the depth of grief, regret, etc. at missing experiences I missed with my family, related to having had to work so many years, and stuffing much of my emotions inside. I need to go back and explore some more of those feelings.

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Comment by Gail Blanke on June 8, 2009 at 1:49pm
Trixie, you're doing a really good job. Remember, the idea is not to be tidy but to be free. Don't worry about not throwing out those things that hold a positive emotional connection for you. If it conjures up a memory that's dear to you, keep it. But I'd love it if you read, or re-read chapter 13 in "Throw Out Fifty Things" - "Letting Go of the Regrets and Mistakes of the Past." I know it's hard - especially, for some reason, as we get a bit older and supposedly, wiser. But smart people make things hard, you know? And when we look backwards, we can see so many things we'd have done different/better, moments we would have treasured more, words we'd have said, or not said. But here's what I believe: in just about every situation, we did the best we could with what we knew or understood at the time, given the pressures, the time constraints, the responsibilites pulling at us. So while you're at it, throw out thinking about or analyzing how you should have done it differently - and enjoy the moments you've got now. Wrap your arms around them, as my mom always told me. You won't regret it...

Gail

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