The Great Purge of 2013 continues.
We're 6 days into the new year and, since Tuesday when I awoke thirsty and vowed to drink more water and then, in a burst of energetic rebirth, subsequently cleaned out the Corner of Doom, I've continued to purge my life of unnecessary clutter...both internally and externally.
My disposition has improved dramatically for it. Even my boss commented on the positive change in attitude.
I've kept up with my water intake - my bladder floating most of the time, I've continued to focus on nice things by adding a colorful slip of paper containing at least one nice thing from each day to my specially designated Nice Things jar every night before I go to bed, and, yesterday evening, I crossed off three more items from the Areas to De-clutter list...my bureau drawers, my allegedly organized knitting stash, and my cedar chest (which isn't made of cedar but my parents' old cedar chest is what I think of when I look at it1 so that's what I call it. In reality, it's just a plywood box in which to store stuff I don't really need but thought I wanted to keep).
The de-cluttering areas to tackle this weekend were specifically chosen for their likelihood to contain random knitting artifacts from when I could knit - yarn, needles, notions. I haven't been able to knit, due to a chronic case of carpal tunnel, for more than two years. But I've held onto all the accouterments I'd built up just in case I was able to indulge in that occupational therapy for stress relief again. At least, until now. Now when I am tired of having all these things lying about literally collecting dust. Now when I finally came to the conclusion knitting will never be for me again. Now when it seems especially important to purge.
So I dug and sorted, sifted, tossed, and grieved for unfinished projects. Then I organized what I'd found, somewhat, into containers, baskets, and bags to give to my sister-in-law and nephew as they've both just begun to knit themselves. I'm happy to pass on a vast collection of assorted needles in all types and sizes to 2 people I love who will love having and using them. I'm glad they'll appreciate the natural fibers I'd stashed and the fact that all but one set of needles are bamboo.
Additionally, in the process of gathering up knitting supplies, I also found the old photographs I'd been promising to show a co-worker of my time spent at Rocky Ridge Music Center back in 1986 - the summer I was 14. The summer I was beautiful and still felt like an ugly duckling even for all the upgrades I'd had...braces off, contacts for the first time, loss of baby+ fat, etc.
In just a few short months, I'd gone from this:
I wish I'd seen this girl in the mirror when she was staring back at me then. It would have saved me so much trouble and heartache in the long run. So unbelievably exquisite.
That was a hard summer, 1986. It's hard to be 14 going on 15. It's hard to be away from home for 2 months. It's even harder to discover the one thing you thought you were good at is the one thing in which so many others there far surpassed me in both raw talent and motivation.
I could regale you with all sorts of stories I remember from that summer...slow dancing for the first time, discovering the Violent Femmes, making out with Tom Howard when we were supposed to be practicing our duet, the "talent" show during which I dressed up like Wayne Newton and lip synced "Danke Schoen"...
But I won't. That isn't the topic of discussion tonight, now is it? Just know, I had a lot of fun looking through the pictures. The pictures belie the teen angst I experienced...which is kinda nice now that I think of it. What I remember most are the good times. Still...the hard stuff is almost as easily recalled and I definitely wouldn't want to go back. Maybe I'll tell you some of the stories later. Then again, maybe I won't.
Regardless, the purge continues.
It feels really good to dig out from all the crap in my life. I'm consistently much happier not carting around or looking at excess baggage and I've re-discovered I'm not afraid to throw away much of anything I don't need or want taking up space frankly. I've done it before. It just takes motivation, energy, and stamina to do it - the things I seem to have recovered during my week off from work and the world. And now, everything is subject to my discerning eye...keep or toss or donate?
It begs the question...what is truly valuable? Obviously, I don't have many items categorized in the "holds significant material value" column - not where my renter's insurance is concerned. I don't have diamonds or a Picasso or a 1st edition Leaves of Grass lying about in my basement apartment. No. Mostly what I keep close are memories. The Nambé vase I purchased the first time I went to Santa Fe with Blind Betsy. My frog collection, each item gifted to me by someone special or to commemorate something special. My Defcon badges. The gloriously hideous, neon-beaded kitten bag Naked Jen bought me when she visited this fall. Those things will go with me wherever I go no matter where I go. What about the rest?
What about the rest?
What about this? What about that? Those are the questions I ask myself as I hold each item in turn and evaluate the meaning it holds in my life.
Keep. Toss. Donate.
It feels good to rid myself of that which has been dragging me down. It feels good to come back to the center. It feels good to take care of me. So, for now, I continue to move through each corner, each nook, and each cranny - of my room and my head - evaluating where I invest myself, my space, my time.
I ask myself, again and again...Keep? Toss? Donate?
Asset? Liability? Gain or loss on investment?
Keep. Toss. Donate.
1: I'm not sure where that old cedar chest is now. I think, perhaps, my father still has it.