For the past several years, I have spent a lot of time telling myself that I don’t have any type of emotional attachment to things. And it’s mostly true. I find it pretty easy to go through a few times a year and make a clean sweep of most of the things in my house and get rid of them. I’m especially good at forcing my significant other to get rid of his things. I’ve realized a pattern that I desperately need to break, though. While I am really good at getting rid of excess things, I’m not so great at not bringing other things back in. I’ll spend a few weeks celebrating my newly achieved goal of “simplifying,” and then slowly things start to creep their way in.
I love, adore, can’t get enough of white space. But I really seem to have problems executing that when it comes to my home. That’s not to say we live like hoarders, or even have a lot of things by comparison to a lot of homes I’ve seen, but I always feel like I need to let go of more. It just isn’t quite how I want it to be. I like minimal design with not a lot of tchotchkes cluttering up the space.
So why can’t I just stop buying more things when I finally get it the way I want it? It’s a real problem, Internet. A REAL PROBLEM.
I know where it stems from, and as hard as it is to say out loud, I’m hoping that by doing so, I can kick the need to be surrounded by stuff (even though I very much do not like or want to be surrounded by it).
There were many episodes growing up – and even into the teen years – when I would come home from school, a practice, a lesson, to find everything I considered “mine” in my room gone. Thrown out. Toys, books, cassettes (yes, I know…CDs weren’t a thing yet), even clothes and bed sheets. All taken to the dump (landfill? I’m sure “dump” is a word that shows my country roots). And you know what? That really, really sucks. There’s just no other way to say it. It’s one of many forms of emotional and mental abuse I endured, and it’s obviously had an impact on even my adult life.
I find comfort in things. Things that are mine. And now that I’m an adult, no one can take them from me. I won’t come home one day to find everything gone (unless I’m robbed, in which case, there’s going to be a whole other set of issues). No one has a say over any of those things except me, and it gives me some sense of security.
I have to let that go, though. Security and comfort should not be tied to tangible things. I should be able to live the life I so deeply desire without feeling like it’s incomplete because I’m not surrounded by random belongings.
I’ve found that my life is much more calm and peaceful in those weeks when I have released all of the possessions. That’s what I want to experience all the time. Whether at home, at work, in my car, online, I want calmness and peacefulness. And I can have that now. I can have it without feeling like it’s attached to physical belongings.
Simplifying and letting go may be the hardest act of intention to date, and will no doubt be a process that lasts much longer than a day or a few weeks. It’s going to take time to reprogram the way I process life. But it’s time that I’m willing to invest, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.
This post is part of the 31 Days of Intention series. You can see other posts in this series here.