Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
What I am trying to let go of is stuff.
Over the years, I have acquired a lot of things. Books, CDs, clothes, journals, pens, colored pencils, dinnerware, furniture, pieces of paper, magazines, etc., etc. I have much more than I need and much more than I can use.
If you follow the axiom that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time – then why do I have – or need – so many clothes. Clothing that doesn’t fit me, or is old and raggedy does me no favors. I don’t look good wearing it and I end up focusing more on the “fit” or the “look” than on my daily activities. If an article of clothing is “precious” because of the memory or memories attached, I have come to realize that I don’t lose the memories just because I let go of the object. And my work with dementia patients at the end of life has taught me that if my memory goes, an object is unlikely to restore it.
Holding on to books because I haven’t read them yet or might want to reread them takes away space for books I do want and books I will use. The same with music I don’t listen to. I have limited space and I have come to realize that I don’t need to fill it all up. That, in fact, freeing up space frees me up to do more with what I have left.
Am I successful at this? Not yet. This is a work in progress. I get rid of books, but I buy more. I hear new music and I find I want to hear more of it. I try to be more selective about what I do bring into my life, but I know that some things expand my life – new skills, new hobbies. But I also remind myself that we get more pleasure from experiences than we do with things. The fewer things I have, the more resources I have for experiences. So I try to resist acquisition and I find delight in donating or recycling that which I don’t need. And I keep trying to let more go.