It isn’t often you get to change your life. I mean really decide what happens next. Too often we are just pulled along on the current of our lives, barely keeping our heads above water, never mind planning ahead.
This afternoon we shut the door on our old house for the final time. Our home for 22 years, the house where our children grew up, I felt surprisingly little regret. It was time. The house and yard were much too large for us two empty-nesters, and I gladly turned my attention to our nice new house, less than two thirds the size of the old one with two tiny gardens and a view of the lake.
This morning we did a final dump run, and as I tossed a bin of paper file folders into recycling I realized how symbolic it was. I felt truly liberated from the intention all those folders held, writing jobs I thought I might do in the days I was struggling as a magazine writer.
Then out went a box full of wrongly-cut picture framing mats that I thought I might one day do a painting to fit. I suddenly realized that backwards thinking like that is just added (unnecessary) pressure.
I’m not a hoarder but I am thrifty. Normally I don’t throw away anything that might come in useful someday but for the last few weeks while packing I gave myself permission to do just that, and painful as it still was (old habits die hard) a wonderful freedom came with it.
I gave myself permission to formulate my new life, not view myself through the lens of the past. For instance, I’ve been an artist/painter for 30 years and look forward to getting back into painting for fun, oils and acrylics, a couple a year, hopefully outside “en plein aire” with friends. But I don’t have to keep mountains of paraphernalia connected with the printmaking that I did in school (graduating in 2000.) That’s not me anymore. So although I moved it all, I plan to pass it on to other artists who will really use it, as soon as I can.
All of my fabric went to Goodwill. (Gasp!) I realized I don’t make clothes from scratch any more – I just buy fabric. (LOL)
And gardening is looking like fun again, tending my two small courtyard gardens rather than wrestling with an unruly half acre.
Of course there are many things I can’t change, but I realize now that I didn’t have to physically move to gain this sense of liberation. It was mostly a state of mind. I encourage you to take the time to figure out what is important and what is sucking your energy, and make a few simple changes of space and mind to free up more time for what you really enjoy. The things that feed your soul.
One thing I am not giving up is my writing. I am so glad to get back to it after the past two crazy months! And, in fact, my next book, Temple of the Jaguar, the first Rocky and Bernadette mystery, will be out in two weeks.
You can Pre-order it now.
But more on that next time.
Be kind to yourself.