So some of you may know that I just celebrated a milestone birthday, which was less traumatic then I thought it would be. I was blessed to be feted with a surprise party at which so many people I love so dearly attended and made me feel so extraordinarily special. And one of them was my younger sister who flew clear across the country for the weekend to be at the party.
My sister has a wonderful eye for the aesthetic, a sense of what works in decor and what doesn’t. She sees what others don’t and has a vision that works, a skill I hope she’s able to leverage into a business some day because she’s so awfully good at it. Anyway, for a while she’s been telling me I need to pare down my possessions and streamline the things I’ve accumulated, some over a lifetime and some just in the last 15 years that I’ve been on my own.
It’s always hard to see your own things from a fresh perspective, whether it’s your house or your closet or even what’s going on in your life. Maybe it’s tunnel vision, maybe it’s denial, maybe it’s lack of perception; I don’t pretend to know. But her suggestions got me thinking and I’ve been trying to reassess and – to quote the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem – let it go.
I’ve started with my house, donating what I can and repurposing other things or sharing them with someone else. Why I had several hundred DVDs I’ll never know but I don’t any more. And I have to admit that it’s rather freeing to see stuff go out the door and find a new home somewhere else.
Clothes have been a little harder challenge because – and I don’t know if this is just me – there’s always a sentimental attachment to a piece of clothing. I don’t want to let go of the dress I wore when my great kid was christened, even though I’ll probably never fit into it again. I’ll never part with the shirt I was wearing in the hospital the night my father died – even though it’s got a hole in it – because letting go of that would mean letting go of another connection I have to him. But there are plenty of things that I have sent to new homes with the thought “what was I thinking when I bought this” and hoping that the new owner will get just a new piece of clothing without the emotional baggage that was attached to it here in my tiny space at home.
And then there comes the big stuff, the life stuff. Letting go is much harder in this category. What or who makes the cut? What is worth hanging on to? Who is not worth fighting for any more? And why are these decisions so hard?
So the big stuff, the road not traveled decision, the path I choose next is the place at which I find myself. I suspect some decisions will be easy while others I’ll struggle with. And maybe I won’t make the right choices all the time but I have to think that I’m at a crossroads for a reason, that if I pay attention to the signs obvious and less so that I’ll figure it out.
Or so I hope.