The topic of this piece was born out of a suggestion from Cheryl Strayed from Tim Ferris' podcast, which I wrote about in my last piece, Wayfinding. The task was to write about an object that's meaningful to you...just sit down and write, and see where it takes you. What have you experienced with this object? Where has it taken you? What have you learned from it? Let it go and let the words flow...
So I did. And the below is what I created.
It feels good to purge.
Every spring, without fail, we clean out our homes and—in some cases—our storage units, and we revel in the art of minimalism...or at least we revel in the attempt at the art of minimalism. It seems that now, more than ever, our culture has embraced a "less is more" approach to life. Tiny homes. Van life. A craving for simplicity. But still, we seem to find it challenging to let go of material possessions we think define us in some way. That soft graphic tee from college or those skis or the walking sticks from Peru that we've held on to for years now, insisting that we'd wear or use it again—not quite ready to pass off to the next owner, forgetting that what is one person's trash is another person's treasure.
Some of it seems effortless to pass on or set aside. Long forgotten and easily tucked away, into the farthest nooks of our cerebral cortex. But there's always that one item that's challenging to let go. It has traveled the world with you, weathered the storm, experienced you at your best and your worst, knows you better than you know yourself. But maybe we take it for granted. We think it will always be there. We feel that, maybe, life is better—easier—without having to worry or think about it. Perhaps it's time. Time to say "goodbye." It's imperfect, a little tattered, and maybe you're just better off without it. So you try to let it go.
But you can't let go. That smell. It's comforting. Familiar. You take it in with all of your senses. The texture. You hold it close. Its snuggles are unmatched. Not fully committed to letting go or keeping it. Part of you keeps going back. Endlessly. You live in limbo. Or a weird sort of cyclical heaven and hell origin and destination travel combo. Because maybe it's a part of you. And maybe that's OK. Maybe it's OK to be a part of something else. You hold on, for just a little bit longer. Because maybe you're afraid of what may happen if you don't hold on. "Goodbye" is hard. Is it forever, or just for now? Will you ever have another one like this? Hard to tell.
That thing? That's my blanky.* My grandma made it for me when I was born. It traveled the White Circus with me this winter. And, it's missing. If you've seen it, holler.
Happy spring cleaning,
*My blanky may be your _______ (insert appropriate inanimate or animate object here). Handle with care. Appreciate the good. Be thankful for the journey you've traveled together. And for the adventures to come.
P.S. It's June 1st. Get on that spring cleaning. Consider what is worth letting go and what is worth holding on to...and no matter what you decide, appreciate it for the lessons it has taught you and the experiences you have shared.