Make Room For the Good Stuff

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

For all the complaining I do about living in an area of the country that dares to get really cold in the winter, one of the benefits is living so close to family. I’ve got several cousins and their families living within an hour’s drive. Most of the aunts & uncles have either moved away or passed on, but there are still several of us within close proximity. And yesterday, we all got together for a picnic.

I remember family picnics in that same park before I was old enough for school. My cousin, the grill master, was a toddler back then. Now we all have grown kids of our own, and most of us have grandchildren. Watching them all play together and “accidentally” slip into the creek took me back to a much earlier time in life and reminded me that, even as we age, the cycle continues.

We sat around and talked about our kids, about our aches and pains, about our jobs, and about our plans for retirement. We ate food – lots of food, and not necessarily the kind our doctors would approve of. I remember looking at the lemon cream bars and thinking, “I should really eat some fruit!” Hey, it made me feel better. Besides, it tasted great!

A common topic of conversation was the urge to downsize and get rid of all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. One cousin had sorted through pictures that were sitting in a box, some more than 60 years old, and put together packages for each of us with pictures of our own families. She cleaned out some clutter and we got treasures that can never be replaced.

It’s funny how attached we get to things that really don’t matter. As my wife and I have contemplated living in a motorhome, one of the biggest adjustments won’t be moving into a much smaller space. We don’t use that much of our house anyway. All that extra space between sofas is just a walkway, more room to vacuum and fill up with stuff.

And as I look around at all the things we’ve acquired over the years, there’s not much I’d feel compelled to take with me in a home where space is at such a premium. Sure, we could store it for a later day, but why? I have boxes in my basement that haven’t been opened in over 20 years. Sure, there would be some surprises in those boxes. But I haven’t truly missed any of it in all this time.

I was listening to a motivational CD a couple of months ago where the speaker talked about getting rid of clutter to make room for something better. He was speaking more in the sense of getting those self-limiting thoughts out of our mind, along with some of the emotional baggage, to make room for positive, reaffirming thoughts. Once all the clutter is gone, there’s all kinds of room for good stuff.

And to learn that principle, he suggested clearing out the clutter in our own homes. He said to start in the closet. If there’s anything in there you haven’t worn in over a year, get rid of it. Give it away or throw it away. Have a yard sale. Once all that stuff is gone, closet space is no longer a problem. You’ve got plenty of it. And now, instead of storing clothes you don’t wear, you have room for those you will.

I found it odd that, in several different conversations yesterday, I heard that common thread. It wasn’t rehearsed, and it wasn’t the theme of this year’s picnic. It was just a group of people who have reached an age where we realize we’ve been making life decisions based on hanging onto things we really don’t need.

My grandma’s living room was full of trinkets, mostly breakable, that were given to her over the years. It was a treasure chest of colorful ceramic and porcelain pieces, music boxes, and old cuckoo clock. And the thing I remember most is the stern warning that we were to stay out unless we were going to the bathroom, and then we had to walk straight through without hesitating for even a moment.

My mom once told me that nothing is worth having if it means you can’t let others appreciate it. And if your reaction to something being broken would be to berate or chastise the person who broke it, then maybe it holds a place of undue importance in your heart.

Cleaning out the mind is a lot like cleaning out the house. After a while, we begin to realize we’re holding onto things just for the sake of hanging onto them. If those things, or those thoughts, don’t bring pleasure, then get rid of them and make room for something that will. There’s only so much space available. Fill it with something good.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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