Right now I don’t know where I’m going. Or when.
I only know that sometime I will leave this house and the planet, and there is a whole lot of stuff that won’t be going with me. I accept that.
It is getting ready to leave things behind that gets to me.
Some of my stuff is a treasure, and some of it is crap. Either way, it can become a “trap” that takes a whole lot of time.
One approach would be to say I don’t care. Someone will have to clean out this place. It is their problem. But I’ve had some of those “hand-me-down” or “please take charge of things” problems. Someone else’s stuff had to become my priority and dealing with it brought me little joy.
These days I don’t have an outside job, and the generation ahead of me has passed. So theoretically, I have the energy to focus on getting ready to leave my things behind.
Right now I’m using a high-speed scanner to digitize photos. Well more than a century of them. Photos I took like a crazy person before digital cameras were invented. Photos I inherited from my Mom, and photos that she got from her mother, grandmothers, and aunt.
I’ve figured out that if I put too much emotional energy into this task, it won’t get done. If I stop to think that I’m scanning a lousy photo of someone, or if it duplicates another experience, or . . . I’ll stop scanning.
I have a wall of photos in boxes, albums, and drawers that need to be copied before they will be tossed. So I’m making albums, sharing them privately, and letting others decide what they want to do with each picture. Then I dust off my hands and move on to the next chunk of images. Maybe I’ll go back and do a better job of telling stories with the photos, or maybe I won’t. Whatever. For now, I’m dealing with photos.
But life gets more challenging when I try to purge objects. For example, my sister-in-law went through a recent downsizing, and she gave away and tossed possessions with rational determination. We were happy to get some cast-off furniture to replace more worn pieces of our own.
But taking her surplus became ridiculous when I saw that she tossed rolls of wrapping paper into the recycling bin. I dug them out to bring some home to where I already had rolls and rolls waiting to be used. And these days, rather than presents to wrap, I mostly give gift certificates.
Sent via email.
It’s holiday time, and as I pulled out all my surplus wrapping paper, I shook my head and laughed. If I couldn’t pass up adding paper to my life, how am I ever going to toss all of my more meaningful stuff and spare those who follow me the paralysis of dealing with their own “trap?”
I guess by rolling my eyes, laughing at myself, and doing a little chunk at a time.