Due to a couple of unexpected “snow days” (school cancelled due to bad road conditions), I’ve had a little more time than usual to consider this and that. One of the things I thought about today was, “What Do I Need?” Not want, not covet, not desire… need. Here’s my little list:
Close friends; the kind I to whom I can expose my least attractive character traits and they’ll still love me. And they can do the same with me.
Laughter; it’s absolutely essential to me.
Pets; cats and/or dogs who will sit on my lap and look at me with unconditional love in their eyes, asking only for a tummy rub, kind words and a walk.
Healthy, tasty food; ideally locally grown and/or organic – but with an occasional injection of junk food.
Family; getting to spend as much time with them as distance, circumstances and money will allow. They’re becoming more precious with each year that passes.
Shelter; I don’t need much except warmth, coziness, a porch or a patio, and an office space to call mostly my own.
Books; lots of them.
What do you need?
Recently, I spent some time in San Francisco with my dearest friend. One evening after we’d had a couple of glasses of wine, I reminded her that she’d been talking about cleaning out her closet for the past couple of years. This, I declared, was the perfect time to begin that project, because I was here to help her. I love cleaning out, giving away, throwing out, and I would be happy to cheer-lead her into getting the job done.
We started on one side of her walk-in closet and slowly – and with much laughter – worked our way around it. She would hold up an old pair of pants and ask, “Are these still in style?” I would shake my head and point to the big plastic garbage bag. She’d dangle an ancient bathing suit, faded and stretched out, in her hand and I would make a face and wave it into the bag. I almost scored a really cute, practically new pair of shoes she said she didn’t want, but when I tried them on she decided they were too cute to give away. Darn! However, I did manage to tuck into my suitcase a cute summer dress she was going to give up. Ha!
About an hour later we were tired of the project and agreed it was time to stop. We’d filled two big garbage sacks and thrown away several items that were too damaged to give to a thrift shop. It was very satisfying for both of us.
Why is it that getting rid of things we no longer want, no longer wear, or no longer feel good about is so catharctic? Maybe it’s because periodically we need to clear out the clutter that builds up in our lives. But that clutter isn’t just old or unsuitable clothing, books we’ll never read again, or papers we saved from our college years. It can also be stubbornly sticky cobwebs of bad memories, or long-ago-learned behaviors that don’t work well for us now (and probably never did).
I’m working at clearing out the latter kind of clutter (though I also enjoy the former). It’s an interesting – and sometimes scary – process; one that I hope will lead to fewer cobwebs and more sunshine pouring into my brain.
What do you need to get rid of?