I was cleaning out my son’s closet today and filled a few bags worth of clothes he’s outgrown. He’ll be one (!) next week and we go through this cleansing process every few months. It’s amazing to see this little person growing before my eyes.
Cleaning out his closet is wonderfully cathartic. The act of letting go of things that don’t fit anymore to make room for stuff that does is POWERFUL.
As my one year anniversary of being a mom draws near, I get more and more convinced that everything I need to know I’m learning from my son. Point in case: shedding things – ideas, people, jobs, attitudes, homes, clothes – that we’ve outgrown.
Just like kids grow out of clothes and toys and interests, so do adults. This is often weird and confusing. We may cling to what we know, what’s comfortable, what used to work. We may struggle to pinpoint what exactly changed.
It may take us some time (and the ability to look back … when the time is right) to get some clarity, to heal, to accept WHAT IS. The point is: what worked in the past simply doesn’t work anymore because we’ve changed. We’ve grown. This is OKAY. This is MORE than okay. This is awesome. Reminds you that you’re ALIVE … and EVOLVING. Do you really still want to be that awkward kid you were in middle school? I know I don’t.
Feeling grief, sadness and nostalgic about letting old stuff go is normal … it’s part of the healing process. I like to look back on my past jobs, friends, ex-boyfriends, cities, drama, wild adventures with gratitude for the valuable part they played in my life.
As for how I’ve processed the most painful experience of my life so far – the death of my younger sister Julie when she was 12 and I was 16 – well, I’ve come to accept that life isn’t always long and life isn’t always fair. Julie taught me so much about living … and that I’m LUCKY – damn lucky – to be here. We all are. You better believe that I’m making this life count. She’d want it that way … and she’s pulling for me. I can feel her everyday. Ya, I’ve got an angel in my corner. (That’s us at the top of this post in matching bathing suits that we’ve long outgrown!)
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of gratitude (and I’m not saying I never fall in the tempting trap of “why did that happen to me?”), but for the most part, I’m grateful and accepting. I KNOW with every fiber of my being that my experiences – good, bad, fabulous, painful – got me to this point I happily call MY LIFE.
** As we head into a new decade, take some time to think about what you’ve outgrown, what you’re ready to take out of your closet and put away for GOOD. Then ask yourself, what new stuff, experiences, attitudes are you making room for?
Here’s to rocking it out in 2010. I’m rooting for you. So is Julie.