Decluttering Musings

While throwing out more stuff today, I got to thinking about why getting rid of stuff is so hard for me. It's because my stuff is reliable. It was the one constant when my family moved every couple of years when I was growing up. It's always been there for me. If I have a bad day, it doesn't tell me that I'm over-reacting or having a pity party. It won't judge me. It doesn't tell me what to do. It doesn't blame me for things that it did or get mad at me for things that I did. It's there to fall back on when the rest of the world is unfriendly and upsetting. It just sits there quietly and patiently while I sort out my thoughts and feelings. I can look through souvenirs and other stuff I've collected over the years to remember better times. I can read books to escape somewhere else. I can work on projects I've started and lose myself in their progress for a time. I can find inspiration from various objects I've saved. Of course, there's a balance between having enough stuff to create a cushion between myself and the world and having so much stuff that I'm buried under it. In the past few months to years, the balance point between too much and enough has shifted. I now need a lot less stuff to be cushioned. I think this is good progress.

Getting rid of stuff means that I have less to fall back upon when things don't go so well and, sooner or later, things won't go well. Sure, everybody is supposed to have friends to fall back upon, but my experience is that people are undependable. When you need to lean on them most, they suddenly have no time or are unsympathetic. They tell you that being friends with you is worth time and effort, but then they never actually have the time or energy when you try to actually do something with them. I wish people would just say what they mean instead of saying what they think they're supposed to say, but that ability seems to be very rare.

Getting rid of stuff also means saying good-bye to parts of my past and letting go of things. This is scary. It also tends to aggravate people too. I have discovered that people don't like their friends to grow and change very much, especially if they themselves are stuck or unhappy. Change in others reminds them of their own unhappiness and their failure to change. They tend to ridicule, criticize or undermine these changes in others in an attempt to feel better about themselves. This is where the saying one thing and doing another comes in again. People will say that it's great that you're doing X, but then make comments about how things used to be or how silly it is to do something different or new. Of course, these people often didn't say much which was supportive about how things were previously, but now will make it sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Clearing out the clutter and old baggage in my life, literally and figuratively, is a risk, but it's the only way I know to make way for new opportunities and the only way to not get held back by the past.

Reminders for Myself:
  • It didn't take a weekend to collect all this stuff. It's going to take more than a weekend to make a dent in getting rid of the excess.
  • Contrary to what the advertising industry would have me believe, I am *not* my stuff and s/he who has the most stuff doesn't always win.


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