When I first married, my husband and I lived in New Bern, North Carolina.
Our local newspaper was the Sun Journal.
There was a young woman who wrote a little opinion article each week.
She wasn’t much older than I was at the time.
I remember enjoying her articles, but there was one article that stood out to me.
Written sometime between ’85 and ’89,
it was, in fact, life changing.
I even cut out the article … and saved it.
It is one of the few that I have continued to save.
She wrote the story of hearing of an estate sale and a.l.m.o.s.t choosing not to attend
because she knew the woman who had died
and she knew that the woman’s home appeared full of
thread-bare, well-worn and even tattered items
but nothing that might truly be of value.
But, arriving at the estate sale, the writer admits that she found that she was wrong.
The woman who had died had many things that were lovely and valuable …
she had simply chosen to stash them away … to save them … for another day.
Per the writer’s prompting from the lesson that she had learned,
I made a conscious decision to USE what I owned.
I didn’t want to have closets stuffed with beautiful linens and quilts that were never enjoyed,
pretty plates and glassware that sat in dark cabinets
or jewelry that never left the drawer.
While I am a collector of some things, with the exception of crafting items, I don’t hoard and collect.
For example, we have a total of four sets of sheets for our three queen sized beds
and enough blankets for each bed to have two to three on cold, winter nights.
I try to keep a “Goodwill bag” in my house so that we are constantly culling.
I am well aware, in fact, that in just a few short years, I will be alone.
It will be time to downsize deeply when the children are all gone,
so I live thinking about and planning for that transition.
As much as these words changed my life thirty years ago,
causing me to intentionally enjoy the “stuff” that I own,
they continue to guide me today.
I am always asking,
Do I need this?
Do I need a second one?
Can I let it go?
And just as important in my mind,
Do I love it? Does it bring me joy?
Does it represent who I am today?
Graham Hill’s TED talk challenges us to go even farther.
He links our stuff to our happiness.
Have you ever thought in your frustration,
“I just want to walk away from it all? Divorce it? Leave and never look back?”
That desire to leave is based in the struggle that comes from care and upkeep of our stuff.
I have gotten rid of so many things since my divorce.
My home has almost been aesthetically remodeled.
Everything in my bedroom has changed except the three large pieces of furniture.
Walls in my home have been painted, artwork replaced,
window coverings have been added or replaced.
My home is much more authentic for me
and I use and enjoy every item in our home,
as I live and remember the words from that wise young woman
three decades ago
that we need no special reason to celebrate today.
You were given the reason when you got up this morning.
Have a beautiful day.
Take some stuff to Goodwill and then … CeleBraTe today!
This post fits perfectly into the Tuesdays Unwrapped category that Emily Freeman features at Chatting at the Sky. If you’re looking for the beauty in the ordinary, you should swing by her blog and read what she shares … and what so many others are sharing on Tuesdays in December.