Letting it go

31 May 2023

I’ve said it before, but this is the last time: I never wanted to retire. 

Well, I thought maybe, at seventy-five, or when I dropped. There are consultants working well into their seventies because we all love our work.

Well, in one sense, I did work until I dropped: it’s just that that dropping happened about twenty years before I expected.

Given that I felt about my business as a mother feels about her child, I expected my grieving period to last for years. Instead, at five months, I’m over it, and feel relieved, even glad not to be doing it anymore. Instead, I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders; a weight I did not even know I was carrying. My husband said he felt the same when he relinquished his role as a school governor.

I know this feeling of lightness is not limited to jobs and duties but also to possessions. My husband and I, having cleared his parents’ house prior to selling it, have vowed not to do that to our children. His parents had lived in the same house for more than fifty years. It had three floors and they had never thrown anything away. In one chest, we found his father’s appointment diaries for every year back to 1969! In his mother’s sewing room, we found curtain fabric left from the attic curtains, now in rags, she had made over forty years ago. It took three trips with the trailer to transport the books to the storage unit we have rented. My Father-in-law, in his care home, still cannot bear to part with them.

Having made that vow, my husband and I must keep each other accountable, which is not Easy. Oh, it is always simple to see what another should keep and what they should throw away; it is far less straight-forward to see, in one’s own possessions, what should stay and what should go.

There are many books on the subject and even people whose job it is to be a professional declutterer. Those books and that profession would not exist if it were simple.

The books always say to start with the easy things, but I look around and see nothing “easy.” My clothes are kept in ruthless order, and, although I now have no need to my professional work clothes, I am not yet ready to part with them. My craft supplies are similarly organised, and I regularly cull those I feel I will never use.

I am going to start with my books. The subject of books is an emotive one. Few of us bibliophiles relish the idea of parting with our books. Yet there are books on my extensive and double stacked bookshelves I will never read and books I will never read again.

So, I am starting with my books. I know it will be difficult, but I will be firm – and think of the feeling of lightness when they have gone, and the bookshelves are tidy and have space on them.

Are you someone who lives with possessions, or perhaps even a job, that weighs you down? If so, when will you acknowledge it, and when will you do something about it?

If and when you do, you know you can rely on support here from the Moodscope community. Leave a comment on this blog and let us know.


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