Lightening Up

I think one of the more interesting things about minimizing is what to do with the items I come across that reflect the “fantasy me”. Coming to terms with the things I had hoped to do one day, but realize will probably not happen. A quilt pattern I had hoped to make for my then not-yet-born granddaughter two years ago. Landscaping plans that would have been gorgeous, but labor intensive, expensive, and beyond my gardening ability. Information on the Nike Women’s Marathon I had been training for with my daughter but never ran. Letting go of these items also means letting go of the view of myself that allowed me to identify with them in the first place. I get inspired sometimes, either by a friend, or something I read, and I decide I want to emulate what I see. I ready myself to do this *thing* by purchasing equipment, reading about it, then reading some more, and even more, then I might try it for awhile. When I realize it doesn’t really fit me, for whatever reason, I put it somewhere and forget about it. But I don’t really forget. I keep it. It stays in the corner, and in my head. And when I see it again, in the closet or the corner, I feel badly. Mostly I feel sad that I never became like that person I wanted to emulate. But I also feel guilty about the money spent and time wasted thinking I could. I feel inferior to whatever I had hoped to become. So when I throw away those things, those reminders, it feels lighter. The tug to keep trying is gone, and I accept that whatever *that* was, I can let it go in my head as well as my closet. Decluttering gives me much more than clean closets. It gives me clarity for who I want to be and how I want to live.

So I’m okay with never running (really, walking) that marathon. Instead I have time to do things I feel a passion for now. And it will be *my* passion. And even though I will never be a professional violinist, I will keep my violin and my music, because it makes me happy to play it. It has been a challenge to let this one go. It’s been hard not to be critical of the music I hear when I play. If I had chosen to pursue music seriously, as I once thought I would, I would hear prettier music as I play. But there are many other things I would not have done that I am proud of – my life would have been very different. It’s not worth the regret. My violin is one *thing* that stirs complicated emotions. I will never give it away or sell it. My children are likely to inherit when I am gone. And it’s okay that I don’t play it every day. But the *music* – enjoying the music – that is still my passion. And I can take that realization and spend more time cultivating it. Music itself will always be a priority in my life, and something that makes me really, really happy.

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