“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglass
I feel this quote lately. Life is messy. There’s no doubt about it. It is cluttery and complicated and equal parts joy and pain. Well, let’s be real. Hopefully it is equal parts joy and pain, and not more pain than joy. There are no guarantees.
I have embarked on a project of Marie Kondo-ing my life lately. The purging continues. I’m trying to get rid of that which does not spark joy. It has been a strange and stressful process. I’ve touched items and opened drawers to peek inside at things – representations of my life – which no longer spark joy.
I started this journey by pulling down a box from a top shelf of the guest bedroom closet. A box of all the cards I received for my wedding. I recycled all but one. They belonged to a former life; a life I no longer lead. I felt pretty ambivalent about them.
I picked up a framed photograph taken the day of my wedding. My ex-husband and me. He had taken that photograph with him when he moved out. Then he brought it back a few months later – it didn’t fit with his new Casanova lifestyle, I guess. That really stung at the time. I look at that photo with regret for how that life ended, even though I could only control my part. I tucked the photo into a box, because I can’t pretend I didn’t live it.
Other things do spark joy. The china that my grandmother collected and were passed down to me; knowing that this strong, admirable woman loved these things enough to buy and save them. And of course, my books. It’s not hoarding if it’s books! I can’t wait to read them all! The pint glasses and postcards that I have collected on my travels. Each one a happy memory of a place that I visited and an experience I had.
I have recycled and shredded, and taken things to Goodwill, to the neighborhood Little Library, and to the dump. I have held objects and tucked them back into their homes, and then later put them into the Goodwill pile. I have put a few things in the Goodwill pile and then taken them out to put them away. It’s a process, and I’m certainly not an expert at it. But I have done more in the last few months than I have in the last ten years, and I’m proud of where I’m getting to.
All of this to simplify, and to ready myself for change. To let go of the things in my life that no longer serve me. It hasn’t been easy, but I keep focusing on what joy will come if I let go of the past.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates