Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lessons from Cleaning out My Purse

This morning I was sitting at my computer, staring at it rather blankly (coffee had not kicked in yet) and wondering what I would write about today.  My girl dog was under the desk and kept "boofing" at me.  Not a full blown bark but definitely to get my attention.  I fed her, she didn't want it.  I tried to put her outside, she didn't want it.  I put her on my lap and petted her, she tolerated it then went right back.  It was making me a little crazy so I got up and started looking for a fairly mindless task to do  when I spied my purse sitting on the table. 

My purse is practically a Mary Poppins bag.  I carry pretty much anything and everything imaginable in there which tends to make it very heavy- to the point that my Mom is always on my case to get rid of half the "crap" in there because I might hurt my shoulder carrying the darned thing.  When I saw it, I decided it would be a good time to purge what was in there. 

As I began pulling out all of the contents I was surprised at some of the things in the bottom of that endless bag.  Oh, I have the usual; wallet, calendar, lipstick, things to put my hair up and out of my face, all of the essentials.  Then I started pulling out old receipts, nail polish I have been looking for for weeks, half a dozen post-it notes pads- all sorts of extras that really didn't serve a purpose but I have been carrying around because I *might* need them. 

I looked at everything in there as it was spread out over my table and the thought came that my purse is very much like an archeological example of my life.  First- as an admitted clutter-bug, I tend to hold on to things because I may *need* them or because if I get rid of them it might be a waste.  I have boxes in my guest room closet that we haven't opened in years.  I have baskets that I may never use but they are pretty so I hang on to them because I might actually decide to switch out my decor one day.  I have books on my bookshelf that I didn't particularly enjoy but I paid for them and I might want to re-read them.  Might, might, might. 

Second, I started thinking about some of my relationships.  I don't mean my family or my true friends, but my acquaintances.  If you look at my Facebook list- there are 354 people on there.  Everyone is there for a reason.  I am not one of those "add me for xyz game" people.  If you look at my list I can tell you who each and every one of those people are and how that I know them.  When I was emptying my purse, it occurred to me that much like the MAC lipstick that I have been carrying around, I might interacts with the majority of those people twice a year (their birthday and mine) and the rest of the time they are just there.  For example, I would be willing to estimate that a hundred or so of them are former colleagues.  While I genuinely LIKE them as people and wish them well, it is more than likely that I will never see them again and the only thing we really have in common is that we once worked together.  I thought about the fact that I have an author that I admire (if you are a fan of paranormal murder mysteries- message me and I will share his name so you can check out his books) that I interact with probably weekly at a minimum when some of these folks I haven't talked to in a few years.  I have a dozen or so on that list that I have never "met" personally but we used to be in MSN groups together, yet now I couldn't tell you their msn screen name to save my life.  I could tell you  that it's either "a" or "b" but not with any certainty. 

So why do I hold on to people and things the way that I do? Perhaps it has something to do with not wanting to "miss out" on anything.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don't want to feel like I wasted the money (or- in the case of the people-time) that I invested in what(who)ever it is.  I just am not sure what drives the need to hang on. 

I took a big step in cleaning out a lot of the extras floating around in there this morning and now I am thinking about doing the same to my "friends" list.  It's funny, as I was typing that last sentence I got a little stab in my heart just thinking about it so maybe I am not quite ready to close the door on those parts of my life just yet.  I think I will carry around my new, lighter load in my purse for a few days and see if it makes a difference.  My mind is telling me that I should just go ahead and remove them because we don't interact but my heart is telling me that it doesn't hurt for them to be there, to keep up with their lives through their statuses, and things like that so I am torn.  Though I am torn- it is something to consider, something to work on in me.  I am okay with that because I can only hope to continue to find ways to improve myself and my life through lessons both big and small. 

>>>>Small edit.  After writing this I went back to my dashboard and made the decision to delete my other two blogs.  They are very neglected, they don't add anything to my life and they make me feel guilty every time I see them on the dashboard when I come here to write.  Another good paring down step. <<<<

1 comment:

deb aka murphthesurf said...

I can so relate to this post. I did this process with possessions years ago and relationships also. But I tend to love to "collect" things as well and so this slimming down process must be ongoing for me or I will wake up overwhelmed with stuff.