- 20 September, 2016
It seemed like a good idea at the time!
Do you ever stop and wonder why you made certain decisions in the past?
More specifically – do you ever question what you have purchased, that has now become a significant ‘millstone around your neck’.
As we journey through life, we often acquire things that “seemed like a good idea at the time”. It may be something we purchased was given to us, we agreed to look after for someone, something we inherited, or even something we borrowed and never got around to returning to its rightful owner!
But in the big scheme of things we now recognise that these possessions are holding us back.
They are preventing us from moving on to the next stage of our life. After all, we can’t just sell or give away that piece of furniture that was given to us by great-aunt Maud, even though it doesn’t really suit our style, and we aren’t that fond of it.
Imagine the ramifications if we gave it to charity, or sold it on Gumtree. What would
great-aunt Maud think?
Life is full of ‘stuff’. Many of these things had a useful purpose at the time, but have now reached their use-by date – no longer a necessary part of our life.
However – all these trappings of life are like old friends, and a part of us just won’t let go. We want to hold on to them for old time’s sake. We become attached.
I am constantly reminded of the struggle people have when they decide to ‘downsize’. They make a decision to move to a smaller home or perhaps to a retirement village, lifestyle park, or even take on the life of a ‘grey nomad’ and travel the country in their caravan or RV.
And as part of the exercise it is necessary to go through a lifetime of accumulated bits and pieces, and make some very harsh decisions about what stays and what goes. This can be a very debilitating experience for many people, as the items that have to go often have the greatest – or saddest – memories associated with them (even though they don’t serve any useful purpose today). These ‘things’ form a visualisation of our collective stories and history.
So – what are we to do?
Do we just bite the bullet and chuck everything out? or quietly go through things one item at a time and take a (sometimes painful) trip down memory lane?
The answer to this question will be different for everyone. And each person’s decision should be respected.
But at some stage in our life it will be a bridge we have to cross. That is, through needs and circumstances, we will have to sort through a lifetime’s assortment of possessions, and some will need to go.
But know this – it can be a very liberating experience.
I heard it said recently that if something doesn’t bring you joy or pleasure, it has probably outlived its value. There may be someone else out there who will find joy or pleasure in it.
Let it go.
So, today’s suggestion – if you have decided to let something go to a new home or, heaven forbid, to landfill, and you have an attachment to it – take a couple of photos. Digital storage consumes far less space than Granny’s old free-standing wardrobe!
So, next time you walk past the old rusting trailer that is sitting in your backyard – ask yourself the following questions; “when did I last use it?” and “do I have plans to use it again in the foreseeable future?”
We are all collectors. We spend our lives gathering items to surround ourselves with. The challenge is to know when to let go.
So, take the challenge. What is one thing that you are holding on to that no longer serves a useful purpose? Give it a new life.
We tried this at home recently and my wife, Kerry, actually went through a couple of boxes of notes from her days when she studied to be a teacher. After having moved between half a dozen houses over the years, they ended up in the paper recycling bin.
It is safe to say both the notes, and Kerry, are liberated!
So, go on, give it a try.
The Realise Your Dream blogs are written by Peter Kelly and Mark Teale. More information about the authors can be found here