“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” – Dr. Suess
“Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!” – Dr. Suess
We’ve sold my parent’s house and closing is in three weeks. You can accumulate a lot over a lifetime and forty-one years in a house. Most of the sorting was done when we put the house up for sale to “stage” it and now the final steps to clear it completely and let it go.
Dad passed away over three years ago and Mom has been moving around my brother, sister and my houses and it will remain the same minus her house. Maintaining an extra house has proven to be challenging at best and it’s time to move on. And yes, it’s still hard. I reminded Mom and myself that home is the people you are with and the time together.
That’s the thing with life transitions. We want to hang on to what was while still moving forward. It’s like monkey bars at the playground. When we don’t let go, we have one hand on each bar hanging looking side-ways, swaying in the wind. To really move to the next bar, you need to look forward and let go of the bar behind to grasp the next bar and then the next to get to the other side.
In the midst of moving stuff, I decided to keep Dad’s pool table and it was delivered and reassembled at my house this week. It was one my favorite things to do with Dad and I look forward to using it with my nieces and nephew and their kids to create new memories. As I stood in my basement and racked up the balls, I smiled as I heard Dad softly say in my head “break ‘em.”
We all need time in transition to collect our thoughts, adjust to our new normal and make meaning of loss and change. And then we need to gather the scattered balls together, rack ’em up and break ‘em to start a new game. Grateful for what has been and more than ready for what is to come.
More memories ahead grounded in the memories already made. Eyes wide open.
“Have gratitude for the things you’re discarding. By giving gratitude, you’re giving closure to the relationship with that object, and by doing so, it becomes a lot easier to let go.” – Marie Kondo
It’s been on my mind for the past month – clean out the closets and organize my clothes. Two rounds and 3 hours later, done. And it’s freeing. Sifting, sorting, bucketing and giving away clothes to someone who may actually need them. Organized, orderly and findable. Clothes that I will actually wear and can find quickly. Shopping my own closet rather than getting more. We keep adding without counting, taking inventory. And yes, I am parting with the Hawaiian shirt that’s too big, but I am now in search of my next loud shirt that sings, “let’s have fun!”
In addition to some Spring cleaning our physical space, we can also do some decluttering in our minds, assessing what’s already present in this very moment. Eliminate the “I’ll get to that later” piles and put it in its place now or let it go if you don’t need it.
Our clutter and inability to let go has created a $38 billion+ industry in the United States. According to SpareFoot, there are 50,000 facilities, 2.311 billion square feet of “stuff apartments” and enough storage space to fill Hoover Dam with crap, I mean, keepsakes that we can’t let go of.
And that clutter and accumulation is rooted in our mindset of more, more, more. A scarcity in our thoughts where we’ve convinced ourselves that this stuff will create happiness. It’s not working. Stop the pursuit of more and actually get more by counting what already is. Stop accumulating stuff and start accumulating daily joy. The search is over. It’s all within you.
And when our days on this earth are over, you can’t take it with you. And I can guarantee, your relatives will be getting a dumpster for your “keepsakes.” Let it go now and starting living today.
I bought this truck in 1997. The dealer told me it was sapphire blue. I bought it sight unseen. And then when I went to pick it up, there she was – purple with teal detailing. A teenager’s truck. I tried to like it and kept it for two years. And then I knew I couldn’t drive it anymore. It bugged me too much.
My Dad was looking for a truck, so he bought it. The purple never phased him. If it did, he never let on. Rather than looking for a truck that he really wanted, he was letting me off the hook of a quick purchase that I regretted.
Now, I love this truck because it reminds me of my Dad’s character. A generous soul who didn’t take grief from anyone and rarely gave out either. Quiet, unassuming and kind. If anyone commented on him driving a purple truck, he never let it phase him. And 21 years later, you can tell that he took care of it.
It’s been over two years since Dad passed away and Mom really doesn’t need two vehicles. We sold it this past weekend to a family member looking for truck. The right side of the garage is now empty, but my heart is filled with memories like the truck story.
Our loved ones are here one minute and then suddenly they’re gone. And yet they remain with us in our hearts, in places, in memories, in others and in our own ways. Even in a purple truck.
Call your parents, give your kids an extra hug, don’t hold grudges, laugh as often as you can. Life is happening right now in the little things. No guarantees beyond today. Cast Light.
“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.” – Branch Rickey
Today marks the two-year anniversary of Dad’s passing. Missing him is a daily occurrence that I don’t expect will ever change. But rather than focusing on what is lost, I am choosing today to focus on all that I am grateful for including what he instilled in me and my family.
A quiet unassuming work ethic, give your best and the outcome will take care of itself;
Love of family and friends, help others and expect nothing in return but the gift of generosity;
Have a sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously, the only way to joyfully get through this life;
Finish what you start, be resilient and find your grit;
A deep faith and pursuit of God, not so much through words but in our actions.
So Dad, I miss you every single day and thank you for remaining in all of us as we continue on our journey. And the best way I can honor you is living out what you have instilled in me. Be kind, humble, celebrate the wins, accept the losses gracefully and never underestimate the power of hope and faith. Cast Light.
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyarthi
It was a two-plow snow yesterday. As the snow softly and slowly fell into the night, the wind did its work to create beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of snow made for childhood fun. The fort-making type to be sure. It stops and detaches you from the complexities of the day to enter into the playground and gallery of nature.
Like it was last week, I remember the delight when a snow day was declared. We geared up in polyester snow suits, hats, mittens and moon boots to make our way out to create our own sculptures of snowmen and angels in the fresh frozen fluff. Skating for hours, sliding down dead man’s hill until dark.
A serious snow that keeps you in the house until they plow the streets and that you snow blow the driveway a few times to keep ahead of it. And, of course, right when you are done, the snowplow drives by and creates a two foot barrier of heavy thick snow that triggers the snow blower again.
Adrift for but a while to be transported back to the simplicity and delight of childhood. To that feeling that remains in us and need only be awakened with a beautiful deep snow. A place to return to often even without the snow.
Nature. Art. Play. Joy. Adrift.
“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.” – Muriel Rukeyser
A beautiful Sunday drive brought Mom and me through the “old” neighborhood. First past her home on Sixth Street, then to Dad’s house on Earl Street where his parents landed after they immigrated from Poland. We finished the “tour” by the still white house on Ivy where they came together to raise our family. All three are within a few miles or so of each other. Families back then didn’t land too far from home. It was both familiar and distant.
“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges
Many good memories with neighbors who remain friends still. Beginnings anchored in hard work, struggle, laughter and faith. By today’s standards, the houses are small and yet somehow we made it through with one bathroom, sharing a room with my sister and a small kitchen with no dishwasher. Those were the days with alleys where the neighborhood kids gathered to play boot hockey, ride bike and make forts from piles of snow.
“The journey is my home.” – Muriel Rukeyser
Every now and then, we need to go back to our beginnings to see how far we have come as well as be reminded where we need to return to. Seeds and roots.
“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson