Before I set sail for pastures greener, I went through of period of clearing out my garage and letting go of my “junk”. There was a financial saving in terms of not having to pay for the storage space on an ongoing basis. I’ve probably saved the cost of all of my junk in the period that’s passed. I also got a lump sum from a buyer who wanted the contents of the garage for himself to sell. I held onto some of the more useful and important items for my own possible later use.
It got me thinking about the emotional costs of holding onto old memories and “stuff”, and also of letting go. Occasionally I think about the things that I used to have. The power tools for instance which took me a while to build up a collection.
Pro’s of letting go – less emotional baggage, don’t have to think about my “stuff” too much or organise, catalogue, remember too much – the overhead can become quite onerous. Financial saving, which with storage gets large very quickly, as much as buying the stuff again. Opportunity for new “stuff” to enter one’s life, with well reasoned acquisition.
Con’s of letting go – we get attached to things, items and memories. Just because we’ve physically let them go doesn’t mean they are outside our thinking (or feeling). Things that we would have had to hand, to use (for free), we no longer have.
The past is a mixed bag. There’s usually a combination of positives and negatives. The catalyst for thinking about this was going through a bunch of old photos from over the years. Remembering happy and sad times, and sorting photos into what’s useful for now and the future, and what will go into archive folder.
Bottom line – letting go of the past is often a good thing, leads for a clearer desk and mind. But holding onto things isn’t always a bad thing either. There’s balance that needs to be struck between the two. This balance I feel comes in deciding what’s important to hold onto and what’s not needed anymore.
One could argue this would mean dumping anything negative and keeping anything positive. But I feel that negatives have taught me a lot, and often lessons I should never forget. So just dumping the negatives is a little bit of a naive approach.
I’m very happy that I cleared out my garage, sold it’s contents and relieved myself of the obligation of ongoing financial burden. As for how I feel about it, I haven’t completely let go/forgotten about – I do “miss” some of the things that I let go. After all there was a positive intent in obtaining “stuff” in the first place, isn’t this usually the case ?
One interesting trend I noticed in London is the “Bag Lady” and “The Tramp” (Hobo). Both are vagrants sleeping “rough”, appear to be homeless. However the Tramp, the man has virtually nothing in terms of worldly possession, just the dirty clothes that he stands up in. The Bag Lady however is often seen carrying a bunch of large bag containing who knows what, all of the useful stuff that she finds in the trash presumably. I’ve even seen them pushing shopping trolleys.
Not wishing to make a generalisation or “pick sides”, it is however an interesting trend I noticed about a perhaps feminine and masculine approach to holding onto things.
In conclusion – I’m looking at the holistic approach to having and holding onto things, AND letting them go. Including the pressures and factors that go into making decisions of whether to let go of baggage OR whether it’s not baggage, but useful stuff to keep. Getting rid or keeping is just as applicable and depends on the individual’s equation at the time when a decision is made, be it by free choice or necessity.
Resources & Sources
Bag Lady Photo – agardnerphoto.wordpress.com
Tramp/Hobo Photo – Wikipedia.org
Cluttered Garage Photo – MorgueFile
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