I want to be able to field those honest questions. We simply want to help. As my friend and his wife see their youngest become entrenched in his Junior year of of high school and his own plans to retire not far away, he’s facing the reality that it’s time for them to declutter. It’s on their mind a lot.
“Do you have any regrets about items you’ve discarded?” He asked me.
But I didn’t have a simple yes or no answer. After a long pause I said no. And then I quickly retracted my statement with, well I recycled my high school year books. They were heavy and I carried them around for 30 years and I rarely look at them. If they were on a tablet, well, I might have thought different. But they took space and that was years ago. Now however I hear that some teachers and fellow students have passed and there is something inside me that wants to look them up and remember.
But then I pulled back on that too. Actually, no, I regret not discarding those yearbooks earlier or even buying them in the first place because those who had an impact on my life have done their job. And I hope I have done the same for them and others. Flipping through those pages to see who that classmate or teacher was, isn’t how I want to live. Those black and white images don’t serve me now. It’s like a form a silent gossip to look at their 35 year old photo, “Oh yeah, I remember them…” I know gossip is not good.
The art of decluttering is not as simple as it seems it should be. That’s why so many struggle to begin the declutter process. But as we focus on the rewards that it provides, which are numerous and real; less stress, more time, more money… And and recognize that it is a process, a form of growth within us unfurls over time. It won’t happen in just one weekend, but like any exercise, the muscles and the value becomes stronger and more visible with consistent effort.
Now that I’ve had time to ponder the question, the answer, the honest answer is no, I have no regrets about anything I’ve discarded. Elly and I were intentional about things we kept and said goodbye to the things we left. And if we were to comb deeply through the past and the journey we took, we might come across a regret or two, but since we don’t look back, it hasn’t been an issue.
People, things, experiences come and go in our lives. Living in the past is missing out on the present. Live moment to moment, leave a mark. Keep what you want and need, enjoy the freedom of letting go of the rest.
Increase the peace.