I’m waking up with pain I haven’t felt in months. I can feel the slow stiffening in fingers and toes, but mostly my back and neck are now fully engaged. Slipping out of bed is no longer without thought and has become a calculation of sorts. There is an early morning review of where the discomfort has settled overnight and how to best engage the rest of me to support the weakest parts. I head for a hot bath first thing to loosen everything up.
I have made some necessary medication changes and the transition from one to another will be wonky. I have two hikes planned in the next six days so I need to pace myself. With the sun returning tomorrow I will opt for a long drive and a long walk in preparation.
I’m trying to write in the mornings before I am fully wrapped up in the day. I sit in my creaky old bankers chair and grab pen and notebook. I took away some good prompts from a post I shared here awhile back. I am grateful for the suggestions. I look around at my desk and see pieces of my life and they have been good inspiration too. “Why we save what we save” is always a thoughtful exercise.
And then there is this.
Things saved for no good reason.
Old papers, books, trinkets and art supplies. My garage shelves serve as a time capsule. So many newspapers and maps, old stamps and pens. I probably have a thousand pens. Who needs a thousand pens when one that works holds so much? These things aren’t artifacts from another generation. They aren’t valuable in traditional ways. What they are, is a growing testament to my inability to let go. There is a metaphor here somewhere and while it hasn’t jumped out at me with any real clarity, it doesn’t escape me either.
So today I will write about letting go. Pages filled with what it means to stop clinging. A deep dive into what it would be like to free myself from the clutter of the past. What will emerge when I can breathe again? How will my body behave with the stress of “stuff” left behind?
I’ve started this process dozens of times. Mostly, I am not sure what to actually DO with these things. Does anyone want old newspapers anymore? Can I toss the drawings made by my ten year old self? It feels overwhelming to dispose of what feels like a personal history. Am I afraid I’ll forget? And what would happen if I did? Maybe I should make a list of things I am letting go of. Prompts, so as to keep the memories alive without the clutter of tangible things. We are the product of our generation. I spent years trying not to be my parents and yet that gene of “compulsive keeping” stuck.
Who are we without our things?