Monday, January 25, 2010


As a very young bride I remember meeting my husband’s aunt for the first time. I was greatly admiring her home, which was filled with treasures, reflecting her impeccable taste. Her sage advice, which I did not understand at the time was, “You spend the first half of your life collecting things, and the second half trying to get rid of them.”

I grew older and remember my Mother, in her later years, wanting to get rid of things. They were lovely things and I couldn’t understand my Mother’s seeming obsession to be free of them. Now, at age 76, I understand. I have become my mother! I frequently lament to my friends that I wish I knew how to get rid of the things that I once held dear.

One of the tasks of growing older is getting rid of things. We accumulate a lot of clutter as the year’s progress. What seemed precious and invaluable at age 30 begins to lose its luster at age 40. We become aware of the important things of life and begin to desire simplicity. The things that used to make us happy, no longer make us happy, and eventually begin to limit our freedom. I don’t know why this phenomenon happens; only that it happens. Perhaps we try to immortalize our memories, but in so doing, there is less room to make more.

In some respects it seems that it would be liberating to be rid of so much stuff, but in others, it feels like throwing your life away! How can we part with things we have valued in the past? Objects of no intrinsic value perhaps, but they take on meaning because we give them meaning. Am I withdrawing from engagement with others? Or am I longing to free my spirit to enjoy whatever the future may bring?

I long to live in a sparse, pristine home with only a few of my books, my music, my scrap booking materials, my computer and all the paperwork that it generates, my camera and the thousands of photos I’ve taken of the family, and the many projects I had planned to accomplish sometime in the future…………….I guess I’ll start with carrying out the trash…

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