Monday, July 25, 2011

The Art of Letting Go

When my 99 year old aunt and I decided to move from Ashland, Oregon to Portland, Oregon, I had no idea I would learn so much about myself. I learned the value of letting go. Letting go of material stuff is what I mean. I have always loved garage sales, and old things that I knew I could do something with at some time. I have subscribed to sentimental reasons for hanging on to something pretty useless, like a rock or a thread bare skirt. But faced with packing and moving (not to mention the cost involved) all these prize possessions, I started to ask myself why? I learned that it is truly a process, not something that one can come to overnight. When i put my house on the market, I went through my house and "de-cluttered", as requested by my real estate broker. I rented a storage unit, and thought I was doing a great job by stashing things that I really liked and/or needed, while giving away loads and loads of other things.

I started to put a "free" pile in front of my house, and made my way to Goodwill many times. I really was proud of myself. Well, as I have whined about several times in this blog, it took 14 long months for my house to sell. When it did, the buyer wanted a 30 day closing and so I had to hustle to get myself packed up. So, I went to the storage unit to retrieve those "necessities" I had stored all those months. When I started to unpack it all, I was amazed that most of the things I had felt unwilling to let go of, suddenly didn't mean anything to me. Something had definitely shifted and I will tell you that about 85% of the contents in the storage unit found new homes.

I had been paying $45 a month for 14 months rent, that is $630! And I really did not have to do that. But, during those long months, I had been searching my soul for more understanding of myself and what my priorities in life are, and I think that had more to do with the letting go than anything. the material items were simply a symbol of my unresolved "life questions". So, in retrospect, I guess you could say that the $630 was spent on my own therapy.

I believe that Seniors, and retired people are more vulnerable to hanging on to things,and there is research to back that up. I will share more with you on this issue later. And wait till you hear about the "Queen of Keeping Everything" Aunt Ruth!

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