Why is it when we outgrow things we tend to want to hang on for dear life? Why do we think as if we can reassurect something that is dead, worn out or dated? Most things have a shelf life. Even death in our bodily form is inevitable. Life is a cycle, but sometimes we get stuck in the spokes.
When you hear the phrase, “let go”, does it scare you? Does your stomach tighten at the mere thought of having to give something up? An old worn out pair of favorite shoes, a friend, a job?
I am a constant donater of used goods. I am constantly throwing out things that no longer fit me or I have outgrown. I used to go out and buy new things as soon as I threw out the old. However I have learned that when I pair down what I have, to things that only bring me joy, alchemy happens and I feel like I have more, even though I have less.
One winter several years ago, I was home along for 2 weeks while my husband was out of town. Now I won’t say I was totally alone, I had 4 dogs at the time. Anyway, there were back to back ice storms two weekends in a row and I was going mad. I don’t drive in ice as my vehicle is my number one business asset. So I was stuck, at home both weekends with 4 pairs of eyes wanting my attention.
I got the bright idea that I would start cleaning out closets. (This must tell you how bored I really was). Anyway, I became a serial thrower-outer. I started making piles of handbags, clothes, jewelry and sunglasses. Anything I thought might resell online. What happened next was astonishing! The more I sold on Ebay, my closet of belongings shrunk. I was thrilled with my productivity, but it was in the letting go and losing those things that no longer served me that brought me the greatest joy.
Now when I look in my closet everything I own is something I love! You know what I mean! How many things do you have that are too tight or too short, or not the right color, or hurt your feet?
In my career, I sell homes for a living. I deal with a lot of clients who are downsizing. All of them tell me how difficult it is to let go of “stuff”. The eliminating of things that hold sentiment is painful.
I remember one of the things my mom used to tell me when I was growing up. She said, “You keep what you remember”. She was an artist and we spent every single Sunday afternoon at the Museum with my parents after we left church and went to lunch. Every week. She taught me how to sketch and paint and how to draw. She taught me about color and line, rhythm and repetition. But the most important thing she ever taught me was that I “keep what I remember”.
You see, I now know whatever you hold onto the tightest is what rules you. I no longer want to be ruled by “things”! I want to be me. I am happier with less. It makes life simpler. And isn’t our world complicated enough.
It takes courage to let go. It makes us fearful that we will miss it once it is gone. But giving back to the world is the greatest way to feel self worth and small accomplishments. Most of the time, I’m convinced, less is more.