Simplify by setting absolute priorities

In the last couple years I’ve learned to let go of a lot.  Letting go has been a mental exercise as well as a purge of physical things.  I found that getting rid of things clears the mind.   For me it was like finding happiness by having a Slinky versus Legos.

Legos are these awesome toys that allow the owner to build a variety of things.  You are only limited by the amount of Legos and your imagination.  If you imagine big you can accumulate more and more Legos.  My experience was the more you had to build with the more you wanted to build.  Much like the possessions we build in life.  I think of all the kitchen gadgets that have been introduced through all the cooking shows.  I don’t know how I did it before all that.

The Slinky is a simple device.  Entertainment is driven by imagination and engineering. There can be only one or they just get tangled.   Its portable, it’s easy, and it always seems to fascinate.  If I see someone with one I want it, I want to experience those comfortable memories.  Somehow with a set of stairs, a bunch of shoe boxes or a board at an angle.  It’s more of an experience toy.

Letting go of  my Legos

In this metaphor I felt the need to give my Legos away.  I had so many built and saved and in boxes and in progress they were consuming my life.  I scrap booked, I sewed, I collected shoes it would seem and I had saved every thing my children had ever created.  I was organized but overwhelmed.  I started by just throwing away; cleaning out.  It got easier and easier as I discarded more and more.

Things like old cards, filed bills (shredded these) and old boxes.  I can’t believe how many boxes I saved!  Then it was more of a passing on of items.  Boxed for the Goodwill were extra storage containers, appliances that were not used in the last year, and clothing that has not been worn in two seasons.  The more the boxes filled and the more space I had the better I felt.  Off to the Goodwill and out with the trash.

I waited a week for signs of remorse to kick in.  Nothing.  In that week I thought more about space and things.  About how my kitchen drawers only needed a finite amount of tools and that the cleaner they were the more comfortable I was actually being in the kitchen using them.  More gadgets boxed up.  I kept only the best spatulas – you know those ones that are not beat up at the top or burnt or missing a clean edge.   I let some extra pans go and kept just my original set and one large saute pan.  Still, no regrets.

Then it came down to things like shoes, “collections” and scrap booking items.  I looked at all my organized boxes and thought of people who could actually be using the things in the boxes.  My Aunt Virg benefited from a donation that freed me mentally and removed items physically.  I started to realize that we have phases of our lives and I didn’t need to hang onto my past.

Slinky Solutions

I have come to keep almost all my important papers online.  I have a back up system and don’t worry that I don’t have a copy of my power bill from 2 years ago.  I have my photos organized online and print some and make a few books now and then.  Mostly I remember and enjoy the thought of the experiences.  I’m in a new phase where I can do anything because nothing from my past is a burden.  I choose very carefully what to keep.

My life is more like a slinky now – simple possessions that allow great memories with an attached passion.  They inspire me instead of burdening me.  I am free to leave them without fear that someone will have to figure out what to do with them after I’m gone.  I need to take my slinky out and on an escalator like the Geico commercial.  I know I’m happier.