Busy day. Beautiful day!
Impromptu garage sale. Unexpected profits!
Let go of the old. Made room for the new!
Lightened our load. A wonderful feeling!
Fall is here. Brilliant orange in the backyard!
Full moon tonight. Kindly Moon to the Chinese!
Hunter’s Moon to the Colonial Americans. I’m with the Chinese!
Tomorrow: cleaning house for more (wonderful) visitors. Happy anticipation!
An artist friend, her baby girl, and mother. First visit with the littlest!
Happy late October to you. With love!
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
- E. M. Forster (1879-1970)
I fought this lesson for most of my twenties. Finally, in my early thirties, I have been learning (and accepting) it. It has not been an easy process, but I will tell you: the life that was waiting is proving more wonderful than the life I, for so long, had believed I should be living.
All this is to say: never be afraid to let go of the plans and beliefs and goals that no longer fit, no matter how long you’ve held them. Be willing to close a door. It really is true that others will open.
(And for the parties who may worry that this post signals an abandonment of the thesis: it does not. Don’t fret!)
My bridal bouquet in no way resembled the one I had hoped for. My vision had been a profusion of coral-and-rust blossoms cascading from my hands. My reality was an orange-and-ivory, outsized-and-upright version of my sister’s bridesmaid bouquet. When I first saw it, I was disappointed, but decided eh bien, tant pis!
After the wedding, I said, “Let’s toss it.”
A loved one said, “No, wait — dry it. Then decide. You might want it.”
“Maybe, yes. Yeah, okay,” I hemmed and hawed.
So the bouquet was dried, along with my sister’s. The flowers then proceeded to tag along with my loved one through two residences. Recently, she decided, “Enough!” and packed up the bouquets and shipped them to me.
The bouquets knocked about our house for a few weeks, moving from vase to vase, and room to room. They didn’t make me happy when I saw them, but I kept them around out of guilt and and a sense of obligation. (“But they’re from my wedding!”)
This morning, I remembered an interview I read a year ago with a professional organizer named Peter Walsh, who talked about the link between untidy, unhappy thoughts (“emotional clutter”) and the physical clutter that often accompanies it. He said this, which really stuck with me:
A lot of clutter is a lack of acceptance that a moment has passed.
I love that line, because it is so true! Our wedding was a wonderful moment. But it has passed! And the relevance of those flowers to my life has also passed. So in a gesture of spring cleaning, and of making space in my physical (and emotional) life for new (and with luck, wonderful) moments, I photographed the flowers, and then I let them go.
And letting go felt really, really, very good.
In the modern world where material things are so easy to come by, we’ve all got plenty of clutter weighing us down. (My office is testament to this.) So I encourage you: take up one item of yours, and let it go. I promise: you will feel great once it’s done!
My next clutter stop? My file cabinet.
I’ll work my way up to the closet.