The Stuff of My Life

I need to pare down my belongings.  I look around me and I see too much clutter, things that I have somehow held onto in the mistaken belief that I needed them.  For instance, as I do my laundry I discover about 80 million pairs of questionable socks and underpants.  I should probably throw out about half of my current inventory.  And I know this….so….why am I still washing them?  I guess they are still here because I have convinced myself that I need to use them down to thread bare.

When you don’t have a lot of money, it can feel like a tremendous luxury to throw things away.  Granted, many things that I need to part with are objects like books, cds, and other miscellany that I can donate.  However, it’s tough to remind myself that letting go of junk will feel good.  It might even feel amazing.  I can tell you this, the more that I let go of bits and pieces, the better I feel.  I’ve parted with many things lately.  I have missed none of them.

The objects that surround us are only that.  I need very few things.  Now, given the standards of the average American, I am probably already living a fairly sparse life of things.  Well, at least in terms of non-book things.  My book collection is abundant by most people’s standards.  Still, when I consider the lives and spaces that I envision for the future, both immediate and far-reaching, and there is no need for ancient underpants.  There is no need for a novel that I read once half a lifetime ago.  Likewise, the random paper scraps with water stains on which I have scribbled poems to Google–these are also useless.

What if I just lived my life?  What if I just trusted that I will not be so struck down by poverty that I will one day be forced to wear my worst undergarments?  (I’d rather go commando anyhow.)  What about just realizing that it’s okay to surrender books that I won’t read again?  Or will never read?  What do I own that brings me happiness?  What brings joy?  What brings stability?  Security?

It has to come from inside of me and move outward.  It can’t work the other way around.  So maybe instead of stressing about tossing out socks, I could just let go and play with my cats, spend time with loved ones, or watch fireflies.  What has brought me joy?  Maybe those moments.  Maybe only the people and places that you appreciate without owning.  All of the magic of my life is far too big to be held in objects, far too sacred to be contained.  Knowing that, I look around me with a terrifying awe and gratitude.

Okay, clutter.  I am letting go.


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