At the beginning of the year, I made a big decision to reorganize my life. Now, I’m not talking about a simple spring clean or installing in a new storage system to contain my sprawling stash of “stuff.” I mean a comprehensive, conscientious overhaul of the way I live and the things I surround myself with. In short, I am parting with the past, prioritizing the present and focusing on the future.
I’m not going to lie; it is a time consuming and emotionally draining process. In the past few months, I have purged my closet of the items I no longer wear and those I never wore. I have eliminated a number of books from my library that I simply had to buy in hard back (and at full-price) the day they were published and I have tossed out the toys I was hanging onto “just in case” one of the kids wanted to play with them again. Yes, I realize my sons are 27 and 20 and it’s safe to assume they no longer have need of them, but if you saw Toy Story 3 well then, you feel my pain.
If this isn’t enough, I also pledged to cook dinner nearly every night, keep a clothing journal in order to get the most out of my wardrobe and to unplug from my iPad/electronic device at least one night a week. The first two have been relatively easy but the last one is a bit like detoxing from an addiction. If you try this yourself, you can expect to experience a few withdrawal symptoms and plenty of setbacks.
So why am I doing any of this? I’m in a new season of life and I’m making broad sweeping changes. It’s refreshing, but it’s also a double-edged sword. My mother warned me about this several years ago, but I didn’t believe her. She said there would come a point in which I would be able to have a simpler and more orderly lifestyle, but I thought she was crazy. I could not imagine a time in which I was not ensconced in a whirling vortex of entropy. Chaos and I went together like peanut butter and jelly. I suspected we would be together forever. I was wrong.
While it is nice to have a home that stays relatively clean most of the time, I miss the little fingerprints that used to smudge up every surface. Although there is serenity in a home-cooked meal for two, it pales in comparison to those frozen family feasts we used to consume on the fly. And while it is nice not to have to buy new clothes and to unplug from the virtual world from time to time, it comes with the realization that everyone has finished growing and you are no longer required to be a phone call or a text away.
“Julie, when you come home and realize everything is exactly as you left it… it will be the saddest day of your life,” Mom told me.
As with most things, she was right and it happened sooner than I ever thought possible. Yes parting with the past opens up on a fresh new beginning, but it also closes the chapter on the previous story…the one you didn’t know was over until you found yourself bookmarking the last page.