Letting Go

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I’ve been thinking about Things lately – my Favorite Things, specifically.  I’m not the sentimental type. If I was running out of my burning house, there is nothing I would bother taking except my cats and husband. Yes, I might be sad later that I no longer had some things, but I don’t think I’d be too worried about taking anything with me.

Of course, the burning question I was faced with after this revelation was: If I don’t define myself by what I own, why do I have so much stuff?

It would be easy to blame my husband who can’t seem to get rid of anything in our house, even junk mail. Everything is always someone else’s fault, right? Wrong. If I’m honest with myself, I have filled my life with inanimate things, and I have a hard time knowing when it’s time to release them.

Again, back to the question of why? Why do I hang onto so much stuff?

Fear. There is definitely a bunch of stuff that I seem afraid to let go of. Thoughts like “what if I need it one day?” haunt me. PT equipment, camera boxes, travel books from places I’ve already visited, sports gear (fixie, sailing gear, kayak gear, extra skis, extra camping stuff), bags, vacuum cleaner, scrapbook making stuff, articles, electronic cables…

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I also have a hard time letting go of gifts that were given to me. I am afraid of hurt feelings or telling the truth if the giver should ask what happened to their gift. Books, pottery, jewelry…

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Guilt. Sometimes I look at something that I don’t need, use, or love and think about how much the item cost. How can I get rid of something that was so expensive? Kitchenaid mixer, crepe pan, film camera, clothing items, chairs, artwork…

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Sentimentality. Okay, I started by saying that I’m not emotionally attached to things. Ha! I have an entire collection of things that represent times and experiences that I’m deeply attached to. I haven’t wanted to let them go, lest I let go of the memory or good feeling. Maps, ticket stubs, broken sundial pendant, stuffed animals, event tshirts and memorabilia, inherited items…

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I’m not sure where all this new insight will lead me. Will I be able to release some things now that I’ve named the emotional reason for holding onto them? Do I even need to? (Probably, our house is pretty small.) Time will tell.

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