When I got divorced 15 years ago, I had three children under the age of 7 that I was pretty much raising on my own since their Father always traveled for work. I also worked, sometimes part-time, sometimes full-time. Then he moved out of state.
Back then my life seemed to move at the speed of light. All the kids played sports and did Scouts. I would have to quit a job because I had too many conflicts with the kids. I also moved a lot because I lived in Denver and I would rent a house then people would decide to sell it (it was the real estate boom). So with all of that going on I never had a chance to really sort through things and purge. I just kept stuffing the outgrown clothes and toys into a box and stored them away. Same with old love notes and communal items from the marriage. I’d just keep moving unopened boxes from one house to the next. I was also usually teetering on the edge of poverty and kept thinking “I need to save that, I might need it and I can’t afford a new one”.
Maybe in some way each one of those unopened boxes was a Pandora’s Box, that I knew was waiting to happen. A box of memories I didn’t want to get rid of but would be really painful to look at once open. I just kept moving the boxes. I think now had I gotten rid of that crap then, oh how much easier moving would have been! But alas I digress…
Now that my kids are graduated from college, in college, and a senior in high school. I have time to look and sort and purge. I actually started a couple years ago when I was about to buy my house, I FINALLY got rid of my furniture… it was the marital furniture. Yes, 18 year old furniture. Blech. Couldn’t really afford new stuff, but couldn’t afford to keep that stuff, for many reasons. When you have to cover a couch with a slip cover, you know it’s time for it to go. Boy, was it time. It was even past the Goodwill expiration date, it was curb-worrthy.
I felt lighter. I felt new. I didn’t feel defined by my divorce anymore. I was no longer reminded of the loss of the family unit and the promises of what was, everywhere I looked. It was my time to create new things.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of self-help reading. One of the principals I have come to strongly believe in is that of space and energy. People have energy, things have energy. You have to get rid of things that give off bad energy. (Yea, I know it sounds kind of flaky and like mularchy but it worked for me) I was told to go through the boxes and pick up each item, if it didn’t make me feel good or have a purpose, I needed to chuck it (or donate). It was odd, I instantly had a feeling with every object I picked up. Good or bad. Even indifferent… those were especially the things I needed to get rid of. Also I needed to purge in order to create space for new good things to come into my life.
Some of the things I found were amusing. You could tell sometimes I would move in haste and would find like unopened mail and coupons. I think I pretty much just took my arm and swept everything off the dining room table into a box. So interesting to know my electric bill in 2004 was only $68! Anyway, other things brought bittersweet memories like finding the custom-made valances for my windows in the house we owned from 1996-2000. Yes, I just found them last month. I loved the house, I was happy, I was a stay-at-home mom, we had money, and I took great pride in the job I did decorating that house. Well now I’m proud of the way I bought and decorated my house now that I bought almost two years ago. It was almost a “Risen from the ashes” moment. Bittersweet, but necessary. And away they went… I hope someone shopping at Goodwill enjoys my dated drapes!