So today I’m taking on the first challenge of the “Year of Less”. Ironically it is to get rid of things. Fear makes you hold tighting on to things in case you need them. To hoard is a natural reaction to the fear of poverty.
For those who know me that may seem like a silly worry but it is something that has been with me since my first big trip with my mom. In May 2009 I took a European trip with my mom in honour of the trip she was supposed to have taken with my dad before he passed on. One of the stops had us by the spice market in Istanbul. As we crossed the plaza a hand reached up and a woman vacant eyes caught mine.
What shocked me was the blueness of her eyes and her blonde hair. A voice in my head said, “One day this will be you.” I am not given to hearing voices so this frightened me good and proper. It was ridiculous. I was in a secure marriage of 16 years and we’d always look out for each other. The next month my husband told me he was leaving.
Scroll forward to today where I have a good relationship with my ex., my finances and health seem stable. Unfortunately the voice never went away and so I began gathering like the ant for winter.
Now to the challenge. It was to get rid of throw pillows. It is an exercise in getting rid of what is not beautiful or useful. It was to re-identify things in terms of what enhances our life and what is stale.
For me I only have one throw pillow and it goes on my bed and I find it beautiful so I had to on the hunt for my equivalent. It was books. Immediately my rationalization muscle started to flex. “But books are useful. Books are beautiful. Books tell a story about you, but.,,,,”. I have hundreds of books and I have given away thousands. Having a thrift store with .25 cent pocket books on Saturdays made accumulating very easy. Regularly they were just .50 cents so it was easy to create stacks of books. It was time.
I created my rules. It went out if: 1. I had had it over a year and still hadn’t read it. 2. If I’d read it but wouldn’t recommend it to a friend and 3. I’d read it and it hadn’t touched me. It was painful to fill the donation box with these unread, unrealized adventures but I knew it was time to let go of what was stale and simplify.
Update: The good news. I spent zero dollars on food. I came out ahead by being given cucumbers and plums by a wonderful friend Nancy. Bad news? I ended up with a $150 plumbing bill.
Tomorrow is another adventure in eating and living thoughtfully. Let’s hope the electrical doesn’t get jealous and decide short out! 🙂