A Look Back (And FIB No. 16)

Road brought me
To this place, with you
The twisty road is behind me

It’s been awhile since I was up in the middle of the night, typing. I woke, feeling wide awake, my man snoring gently beside me. I don’t know why but I began to think about how I got here, to this place. About the places I’ve lived, and the people who have been in and out of my life. About things I had, and have no longer, and stranger yet how when I look back, they were important in my life then, and now they are all things I just let go of. I thought about the storage bin my ex rented to keep the stuff he thought was important…the stuff that to him, proved his existence. How it all was sold off to the highest bidder to pay the fees. Most of it was mine too at some point. But very little in that bin was important to me.

I guess many of us, as we get older, begin to pare down the stuff in our lives. We seem to learn somewhere along the way to shed what does not really serve us. Like stuff, like toxic people. If we are lucky we learn to hold tight to the people that bring us joy, I find that stuff can be pleasurable, but it’s not vital like the people are.

It’s an ongoing process, this paring down, this simplifying life thing. I have a thing about clothes. I hate throwing them out or giving them up if they are in good condition, with the only problem being that they don’t fit me, lol. I hold on, thinking, “Hey I might fit into those again one day.” But I decided a while ago, a few years ago, that if I haven’t worn it in 2 years. I should let it go.

Things? Oh my, I do get attached to things people have given me. For instance, I have this rocking chair. It’s solid wood, rather large, and is really incompatible with my other furniture. I used to keep it in my bedroom, in my house in CT. It’s one of the few things I took when I left my ex (the others were a bed, a dresser and a nightstand), But I brought it here to Florida where it takes up way more space than is available for it in the living room of my 900 sq. ft house. But I used to rock my son in it when he was a baby, and I just can’t seem to let it go. I have a few other small trinkets from his childhood that I hold on to too, like his giant teddy bear that we gave him for his first Christmas when he was 7 months old.

Other things are hard to let go of too. Jewelry, my boat, some of the artwork in my house, my bedroom set. Some knick-knacks. But I am getting better about letting go of a lot of junk, which I thought was something but really allowed me to thin things down by getting rid of them.

Things with no emotional component are not so hard. Things that were just there to serve a purpose, I let go of. I loved my formal living room furniture up in CT. I had it for 5 years, but sold it with the house. It was pretty, it went very well in the room it was in. But I wasn’t attached to it, and couldn’t take it with me. It was not hard to let it go.

People? I have a hard time letting go of them. I’ve learned though, that some people are not meant to be in my life. I’ve learned that the older I get, the less tolerance I have for self-centered, childish people, and the more I welcome honest, loving, compassionate people into my life. I met an incredibly talented musician a couple months ago. She plays many instruments, very well, sings, is funny. We became friends. Until one night she got drunk, and accused her boyfriend of all kinds of stupid stuff. Since we hadn’t been with her, I believed her story. Dan and I brought her to my house for the day, where she proceeded to keep drinking, and ranting to us and people on the phone (who were also friends of our.) It didn’t take long to realize she was a huge drama queen, and loved being a victim so much she’d make up stories, and maybe actually believe them. I looked at Dan and told him it was a mistake to bring her to our house, that she was full of drama like a high school girl. We took her home later, after she slept some of it off, and have not seen her since. More than one seemingly old friendship has fallen by the wayside because it was just too exhausting, too draining to maintain. Too toxic to allow into my life for another moment. Others I keep at an arms length. And others, I draw to me, and work at keeping close, because they add joy to my life.

When I look back at my life, as I did when I started this post, I see so many twists and turns in my life. Stuff, things, people marked all the paths. I feel like now, at 67 years old, my twisty path is straightening out.The path is not so fraught with footfalls and ruts. I have a much clearer idea of the direction I’m going in, and a partner to walk it with me, and we seem to keep each other real and focused on what’s important. Still, at times, I wonder how I managed to end up in this spot, with this man, living the life I dreamed of for so long. From my birth in Indiana, to Massachussetts, to Iowa where I did most of my growing up, to CT where I lived all of my adulthood, to Florida. A long and twisty road, for sure. But it got me here. I’m grateful for all of it. For all the lessons learned. The ones that were a joy and the ones that were gut-wrenching.

It was an interesting exercise, looking back at the collection and disbursing of things and people in my life. I guess it’s a good thing to take stock of where you are, and how you got here every once in a while. It helps you better assess where you are and where you are going from here. Helps us to stay real.

As always, wishing love and light to all.

By Deborah E. Dayen

5 responses to “A Look Back (And FIB No. 16)

  1. This was easy to relate to – less tolerance for toxic people and situations is something I touched on in my SOCS post already written for tomorrow. And oh the things! I’m learning a lot about getting rid of things as I go through those that belonged to my parents who were not quite hoarders, but collectors. It helps to tell myself, “someone else can use this.” But I understand about the emotional attachment. You’ve just given me the idea to take a picture of my father’s suitcase covered in stickers. No one can use that because it’s too worn out. I think my husband might have to get rid of that for me. Going through my parents stuff has motivated me to work on my own paring down. But that big stuffed dog in the attic, we’ll have to see about that. It’s good to look at the big picture of how far we’ve come.

    • I’ve pared down twice in 10 years, for the move into my house up north, and then really a lot for my move down here. So I don’t have a lot, at the moment, except maybe a bit too much artwork which was done by people I know and love but it’s starting to feel like wall clutter. Dan jokes to me when I begin looking at art, “Oh do you have a few square inches on your walls open?” And I remember I need to do something like change the art with the season or something. Glad to hear about the dog in the attic, I don’t feel so weird about the giant teddy bear!

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