At the end of July, the hubby and I decided that August would be a month of clearing the house out in readiness for massive changes happening in September and October. It just felt like the right thing to do.
We were right.
I spent the majority of this weekend clearing out cupboards and wardrobes, rearranging storage and taking stuff to the local charity shop.
I’ve also managed to find new homes for things using the local Freecycle group. Whoever thought that up should be given a medal. And a knighthood. What a fantastic thing it is!
I gave away things that I have carried around with me for over twenty years. Things that were just so… “mine” that every time I moved house I didn’t even stop to consider whether I still wanted them. I’ve lived in so many places. I had a… disrupted childhood and adolescence, the last time I stopped to count (about 3 years ago I think) I’d lived in over twenty-five different houses. And I’m not that old really. And every time, I packed stuff into boxes and unpacked them again, holding tightly to them as everything shifted continually around me.
I’m a hoarder par excellence. It comes with having an overactive imagination and a fairly good memory. In the past, every time the decision to keep or throw out something has come up, I either remember the emotional context of the object, or imagine a future use, both too well to be able to part with it. Both result in over-flowing cupboards and a feeling of suffocating in my own house.
No more. This weekend I felt like I was shrugging off twenty winter coats that I’d been wearing, one on top of the other. I held objects, remembered the emotional context, felt the odd pang, but mostly I felt a sense of seeing them for the first time as I realised I no longer needed or wanted what they reminded me of.
They were important to the person I was years and years ago. The person I needed to be to find my way to who I am now.
I found notebooks stuffed with my own doggerel, stories written long-hand by my angst-ridden adolescent self. Why keep them all these years? Out they went. I kept a grand total of three, but even as I type this I doubt the decision. Too late, they’ve been stashed away in a new cubby hole.
Was it really clearing out?
Not just that, I feel. What I was really doing was starting a new chapter. Please forgive the use of that tired old phrase, this being an author’s site and all, but it’s the truth. Actually, I think starting a new volume of a life-long novel would be a more appropriate metaphor.
I realised that I no longer need to hold on to the past, and this weekend I felt like I was physically turning around; no longer looking more at the past than at the future, ready now to run forwards, instead of cling to things that once comforted me. For the first time in my life, I really do feel that I am on the right path, doing the right thing for me and my family.
As for what that thing is, well, I can’t say yet, I’m sorry, it’s not time to reveal all yet. But I can tell you that I’m doing all I can to arrive at that future port with only the baggage I absolutely need, and the determination to make the absolute most of what I have. And that I am so very, very excited about the next stage of this journey.