It’s been weeks since I’ve written anything and I’m pleased to say that a few of you have noticed. I had written an earlier post about writer’s block. Some of you responded with ideas to help me through this. I appreciated them all, but there was one definite suggestion that popped up from all those responding, and that was to just WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. I’m sorry to announce that I didn’t take that advice. Not that I didn’t appreciate it, or think it was valid information because it definitely was. Now, are you ready? Here comes the excuse….
I’ve been busy tearing myself away from one life and trying to create another. I recently moved from a house I’d lived in for close to 20 years, a marriage of a half a dozen more and memories that were tucked away in every nook and cranny of that part of the brain they are tucked away in.
Oh, the memories. The good, the bad, the blurred and the forgotten. I’ve always known I was a pack-rat, but I never quite realized how many attachments I have to just “stuff.” I moved from a nearly 2300 sq. ft. home to barely a thumbprint of space. 968 sq. ft. Now, if you are one of those minimalistic people I so admire, 968 sq. ft. might seem like a mansion. To me, it feels like a mouse-hole. A very nice, cozy mouse-hole with a two car garage and a tiny landscaped fenced in backyard any adoring house pet would love to hang out in.
The problem is, and any good, or even not-so-good, mathematician can tell you, that 2300 sq. ft. of pack-rattedness does not fit into 968 sq. ft of even semi-organized space. Bottom line: I had to get rid of my “stuff.” I needed to weed through it and decide what I could live without and what I definitely could not part with under any circumstance. Guess what? I decided that I couldn’t live without ANY of my things. Everything held a memory, which had a story associated with it, which meant it must be important.
Are your grown children’s childhood building blocks important? Apparently I think so. How about an exercise video I’ve only used once? Yup. Or every report card your child has ever received? Definitely yes. My daughter was throwing them away and I nearly had a panic attack. “No, you CAN’T get rid of those!” Because as we know, some day she will have children of her own and it will be fun for her to go through all her old school records to see what an exceptional student she was. Well, that’s what I did and if for no other reason than it was hilarious to see what my teachers wrote about me. For example, 1st grade: “Sharon is a very shy child and keeps to herself.” 2nd grade: “Sharon has a tendency to talk too much and disrupt the classroom.” Those are things from my past that I would’ve never remembered if my mom hadn’t saved all my report cards.
Well, the moving fairies would not let me keep everything. I had to painstakingly go through all my knick knacks, all my books, all my clothes, all my memories, and toss, donate, box-up and sell them. (Note to self: craigslist and garage sales will be a good future blog post.)
This process included trying on probably hundreds of clothing items and deciding which ones stayed and which ones met a different fate. Does it fit? Is it in style? Is it clean? I found it amazing the things I decided to keep (marble race game) and the things I donated to charity (rocking chair used for all three children). Or the sheer numbers of things I saved. Three orange peelers? Well, I might lose one. Or one might break. Or one might be dirty and I’ll have to toss it…. Ha, seriously, I have a mold fetish and when cleaning out the fridge I threw away entire containers if they had fuzzy green stuff growing in them.
Well, I think you get the point. I have attachment issues. But, as a parting exercise in writing, I’m going to take my fellow bloggers’ advice and have a speed round writing some things I had to keep and some things I had to let go of.
Keepers: A third of my clothes, two-thirds of my book collection, six towels, a box full of stuffed animals, 78 old love letters, every photo of family I ever laid eyes on, a box full of yarn, camping gear, grandma’s cedar chest, my dining room set that now has to sit in my garage, one cat, one dog, 23 dish towels and one packed to the rafters memory bank.
Tossers: Two-thirds of my clothes, one-third of my books, a rocking chair, two couches, a patio set, a California king-size bed, roughly 75 albums and 300 CD’s, bunk beds and matching night stand, one fondue pot, a radial arm saw sold for 5 bucks and one remodeled 42 year-old house.
Congratulations, what an accomplishment. And you are still upright! Here’s to a new beginning, one open to new adventures and experiences, as well as cherished memories of the past.
This is what we all come to, but not, happily, as soon as you have had to, Sharon. I can’t imagine doing that after 31 years in my home, but I have gone through the process twice in less than two years with parents. Now I have added some memories of theirs to mine, which take up even more space in my home! May the sorrows of your heart make your life somehow richer and lovelier than ever.
Thank you Kathleen for the kind comments. I’ve learned that there are silver linings to every situation. In this case, I was able to re-visit old memories with items found, feel good about donating to charity and finally, knowing our house sold quickly to a family that will love it. Thanks for reading!
It’s sad to say goodbye to the old house, that’s for sure. But as much as “things” and “stuff” contribute to our lives, it’s the people in them that foster happiness. As long as you surround yourself with friends and family, you’ll be happy wherever you end up!
Thanks Poul. Very well said, you are wise beyond your young years. And you can certainly count yourself among my “friends and family” and I look forward to having you in my future for years to come! Good luck in PT school!