Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Creating Simpler Times

The sweatshirt is 16 or 17 years old.

I bought it in Vermont for $50 – back when $50 was a lot to spend on something, especially for myself. I pick it up and look at it every time I clean or sort out my closet and clothing – every time I have moved for the past 17 years.

And I have kept it – but I need to donate it now.

Why? Because I do not wear it - it doesn’t look good on me or flatter me in any way.

I keep it because of what it reminds me of  – as if I need a sweatshirt to remind me that I am married, or that we went to Vermont, all the fun trips we have had together over the past 17 years, or the amazing life we are having right now!

Ironically, it also reminds me of simpler times…

It is not the only thing that I have had for that long, (or longer) and I am finally letting go. I love the little picture embroidered on the front. I actually like it more than I like the sweatshirt, so I am going to take a picture of it and put it in the digital album I am making and let the sweatshirt go.

My first run through - I pared down my clothing by getting rid of what I never wanted, or what was worn out.  (Translate: Things that were easy) This next level of paring down is much more difficult. I have a house full of things that remind me of events or people – but I have the memories and, in most cases, the people are still right here in front of me.  

The bottom line is that I spend more time keeping things “organized” or finding things than I do with the actual people these items/memories are attached to…

I absolutely see that less things around me, will clear my mind and create the space I need - to do what I really want to do. If each of these things has such a pull on me, I am being pulled emotionally in so many different directions that it is exhausting and I don’t have the energy to give to the people I love and really want to spend time with.

When I made the first decision to simplify my wardrobe, I was not sure what to do, so I picked a number  - 7 of each of type of clothing because I thought it would be a reasonable place to start – but the reality is that I cannot wear all of the clothes I have kept, so I am fine letting more go.

My guidelines:  Does it fit me now? Do I like the way I feel and look in it?

Some of the thoughts that are associated with letting clothing go: 
What if I need it in the future?
What would ____ say if I give away their gift?
What will I wear when I lose weight?
I spent money on that and never wore it…

What I would like from this process:
Less clutter.
Easier morning routine.
Nothing in storage in the basement.
To look and feel good in a simpler wardrobe.
To help someone else by donating.

But mostly, as I have realized while writing this today, I have been craving what that sweatshirt really represented…simpler times. We lived on much less money, didn’t spend unless it was for meeting a basic need of food, clothing and shelter.  There was still plenty left for family, friends, doing fun things together, vacations, etc. There was more time. 

I love my family, home and garden and can’t help but wonder if what I work for every day is just the excess that is mostly overwhelming me? If that is true, how can the money be spent in a better way?

The bigger question I have to ask myself: Do I really need to make the money at all?

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. 
Most people exist, that is all."
~Oscar Wilde

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