It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting here with a homemade tumeric face mask on (giving my skin tone the uncanny resemblance to a certain presidential nominee) and I’m a captive audience, so I figured now was as good a time as any to crank out a post.
I was certain that yesterday morning I would wake up thinking my first cubicle-free day would feel as if I had played a giant April Fool’s Day Joke on myself… but it didn’t. I slept in until the blissful hour of 7 AM, got some work for the business done, made breakfast, went to yoga, cleaned the bathroom, went for a walk around the neighborhood with Kona, and went on a job interview all before 3:00. It was such an ordinary day, and such a good day. It was the first day in a while where I actually believed that everything was going to be ok. I’ve kind of been in ‘fake it til you make it’ mode these past couple of weeks, always feeling like I still needed to convince myself that this was the right decision. My mom sent me a text that said “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!” and I smiled when I read it because it feels good to be at the beginning of something new instead of at the end of something old.
Since I was in Get-Sh*t-Done mode all day yesterday, last night I finally tackled the laundry/ unpacking/closet chaos that had taken over my bedroom floor. I love spring and the temperate weather, but this time of year always makes for wardrobe mayhem since it’s sundresses and flip flops on one day, jeans and a sweater the next. This weekend was the perfect time for a closet purge, and purge I did. From lifeless sweaters to old swimsuits, no item was spared the wrath of my decluttering. So many business casual items that I’ve loathed for so long ended up in a bag destined for Goodwill.
Last fall when we were packing up the condo to move, I went on a major purging rampage and donated boxes upon boxes of stuff. It got to the point where Brendan finally said, “you realize we are moving to a bigger house, right? So, we actually need to have some stuff to put in it.” It definitely adds a interesting dynamic to our marriage, me constantly trying to get rid of things and him constantly reminding me that only one of us is an aspiring minimalist. But I think even he will admit that my incessant purging ultimately made for a much easier move. (I think our next move should be into a converted VW van, but something tells me I won’t win that debate.)
I’m probably in the margin by saying this, but I would much rather spend the day cleaning my closet than going shopping. I realize that probably sounds like blasphemy to most, but hear me out: There’s something so cathartic with getting rid of the junk, cleaning out the items that no longer serve us. We spend so much time and energy acquiring things that we rarely ever take stock of what we can eliminate. Shedding layers of stuff inevitably leaves me feeling lighter when I’m done.
I vaguely recall reading a parable about a man walking around with a bag on his back, picking up pebbles. The weight of each pebble feels inconsequential, but after a while he is staggering under the weight of his bag. He stops and dumps out the contents, and realizes that he doesn’t need to put any of the pebbles back into the bag. While I’m not entirely sure that I retold the story correctly, the gist of it is this: almost everything we have, we can live without. It is so easy to get weighed down with a bunch junk that doesn’t actually contribute to our lives in any meaningful way.
I had a teacher yoga once who said that practicing mindfulness on the mat leads to practicing mindfulness off of the mat. When I first heard that, I chocked it up to a bunch of new-agey crap, but I realize now how much truth there is to it. In a world where we are constantly multitasking, it feels good to focus on just one thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snacked mindlessly, only to realize that I wasn’t even hungry in the first place. Or how many times I’ve gone into Target for laundry detergent, only to emerge $200 later, sans the Tide. Or how many times I’ve picked up my phone to check the time, only to fall into the pit of Facebook and realize that I’ve seen 500 pictures of people’s kids, but I still don’t know what time it is.
This month, my challenge for myself (and all 6 of my readers) is to Spring Clean the clutter. Clean the physical clutter- get rid of the stuff that is bulging out of our closets and taking up real estate in our cabinets. Donate it to someone who actually needs it. Clean the mental clutter- stop doing activities that waste time but aren’t actually productive. Hint: it probably involves spending less time on an iPhone. Clean the emotional clutter- stop carrying around negative emotions that drag us down. What fears, guilt, worries, and prejudices can we let go of?
Stop carrying around a bag of pebbles- let go of what no longer serves you.
You can go to http://pickupplease.org/ to schedule a pickup. They will come to your house and pick up whatever donations you have, and all of the proceeds benefit the Vietnam Vets of America.