Paring it Down
PJ just got home from a semester in Germany. He came back to a room spilling over with clothes, papers, books and assorted furniture from his last Millersville apartment. Ya-Jhu and I went in there while he was gone, hoping to make some sense of the chaos, but quickly retreated, totally defeated. But there is hope! PJ is a new man after his European sojourn, a pack rat no longer. He vows to whip his room into shape in a matter of days, relegating bags full of random saved things to the trash. He wants to pare his life down to the basics, and more power to him.
Julie recently traveled internationally for three months with one medium-sized backpack. She wore her tiny wardrobe, washed it in hostel sinks, and wore it again. She came home to a room full of fashion, enough sweaters and jeans to open a branch of LOFT, and she was turned off by the excess. Jules is sorting through, selecting many items to give to charity, vowing to pare her life down as she heads toward college and life on her own.
Sheridan and Yaj have gone all organic and environmentally sensitive, toting their own bags to the grocery store, eschewing foil and plastic wrap for Tupperware. Steve and I are slow to fall in step, regularly forgetting to love the planet, but we're getting there. I look at our newly organized refrigerator, with lots of blessed open space, and realize that there is value to paring it down, combining three 1/3 full yogurts into one container, pitching the science experiment buried on the lower back shelf.
One of these fine days it will be my turn to confront the vast assortment of flotsam and jetsam in my home that would definitely qualify me for an episode of “Hoarders.” I will box up the old VHS tapes, I will jettison the canned goods long past their expiration date, I will pare my life down to its essence. Painful as the process will be, I know in the end it will feel good.
Have you ever been bitten by the throw-it-out bug? Have you looked at that pile of In Style magazines dating from 2009 and thought: “I guess that stuff is probably not ‘in style’ anymore?”
And, going a little deeper…
What are you carrying that would feel so good to put down? What excess is cluttering up your life?
It’s not New Year’s yet, but here’s a 2014 challenge: take a good, long look at your emotional stuff, your toxic relationships, your overcrowded to-do lists, everything that is standing between you and a simpler, less stressful life. Pare it down, all of it: say goodbye to people who consistently hurt you, shred those crazy lists, box up your regrets and your disappointments and get rid of them.
Now. Look at all the beautiful open space in your heart. Room to breathe. Room to live abundantly.
I’ll do it. I’ll do it if you will.