Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Decluttering the stuff in life


"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou

 I've tried to sit down and write several times since October, but I haven't been able to put my thoughts into words that would make sense to others. I would attempt to sit down and write, but then something would distract me and I wouldn't be able to focus. Normally, an idea comes into my mind, I'm able to process it, and put it into words. However, the past few months have been a time of growing emotionally and all the thoughts were a mess of spaghetti in my mind. As much as I needed to express myself, I wasn't able to. So bear with me today as I try to express a multitude of thoughts into a coherent message. 

Although I pride myself on being organized and free of clutter, I had an overwhelming urge this month to get rid of stuff. I started going through my closet and created a stack of clothes to donate. I went through all my books and donated the ones I knew I wasn't going to read again. I donated my bicycle from college and bar stools from our previous home. I tried to get my husband to donate some of his stuff, but apparently he wasn't feeling the need to purge like I was! It felt like the material stuff in my life was distracting me and I needed to de-clutter. I don't know why, but I couldn't ignore it.

Then I started thinking about how busy I am. I'm really good at being busy, but sometimes the things I'm productive with are not that important. I get a little thrill when I start my day with a list of things to do and I'm able to check them off at the end of the day. However, I've realized that I need to let some things go. Does my house need to look like a picture out of "House and Garden"? Do I need to unload the clean dishes as soon as the dishwasher is done?  Do I need to waste an hour on Facebook every day? Do I need to say "yes" to everyone that needs me or answer the phone every time it rings? The answer is "no" and if I'm saying "yes" to all those things then I need to ask myself, "What am I trying to prove to myself or others?" So, I asked myself ,"What obligations can I eliminate that are not fulfilling to me anymore?"  Figuring that out may take more than a day or  week or month, because if you're like me then you have a strong sense of loyalty and don't want to let others down. Oh and let's not forget about guilt. Guilt is another emotion that keeps us from letting go of distractions, especially if they're distractions that benefit others in our life and they're good at manipulating you.

At some point, you have to ask yourself why you're letting the distractions in life get in the way of what you're really passionate about. Are you afraid of what might happen if your dream actually happens? Are you a perfectionist like me that gets stuck in all the details and the fear of failure? I'm not saying to go out and quit your job, stop cleaning your house, or ignore your friends and family when they call. What I'm recommending is that you create boundaries so you can pursue what you desire. Before you take that phone call from your long-winded friend you may decide to limit the conversation to 30 minutes instead of an hour.  Perhaps you delegate a task to others in your household even though that means letting go of control. I understand that it may not get done to your high standards, but it will get done and it will free up a little more time. 

You might be reading this and thinking that you haven't found what you're passionate about yet or your dreams have been buried under all the other stuff in your life. I understand that and have been there. After my husband's injury, I couldn't think past the moment I was in and I certainly wasn't dreaming about the future. That was too scary and unknown. However, as time went on I started creating boundaries, taking care of myself, losing some distractions, and those dreams started to appear.

Remember that life is about relationships, creating memories, pursuing your dreams, and not about accomplishments. My passions are my husband, my family, my faith, writing, helping other veteran families, and trying to be a positive role model. When I focus on those things then I'm being true to myself. I saw this quote in a magazine the other day and it was perfect timing to add to this post.......

"Run my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings." Hafiz