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?
I loved reading about all of this except the pain of course. Hope the meds kick in soon. I’m learning that a long hike + a long car ride = disaster, so I try to stretch a bit before climbing in, and stopping periodically too. Ugh.
Yes to taking pictures of things and scanning memorabilia. I never pull out the original papers to browse, but I do look at the digital ones when they pop up or I go looking.
Looking forward to hearing about what you find out about all this, or how it all translates as it passes through you.
And your desk! Want. Mine is very vanilla. No coziness at all.
Thanks, Nancy! Tomorrow’s drive will be good. Just started listening to a book I loved reading, so I know I’ll enjoy that part of my day. I’m heading toward Rainier on Thursday and down to the Gorge on Monday. I hope my body will rise to the challenge. It’s spring! Time to get outside!
I love your cozy desk, and the wall color is so peaceful. Apparently my parents didn’t know what to save and what not to save, so they saved everything. Including some newspapers and magazines, mostly with the faces of presidents on them. What is interesting to me is that they touched them, they (by which I mean my father, as my mother was “too busy” to read magazines) sat in the chair, touched them, turned the page, devoured the words. Which makes it hard for ME to throw them out now. And now the forecast has changed yet again, the nice day is Thursday, not tomorrow. Ach.
I love my room so much. Cozy and with so many things I love. I’m not really sure what I should try to give away and what should go straight into the recycle. I kinda love your reason for not wanting to part with those pages of print. Sweet. And that forecast? Sigh. I’m heading east so I should find sun. It’s the getting over the Pass that will be a challenge. Fingers crossed. I just filled my tank. I’m ready!
I love the wall colour. And the cluttered desk, clearly a sign of intelligence. 😉 I don’t like your pain but you have the bathtub to help a little with that (I don’t!). How long have you been living in the same place? I was lucky since 9 years ago when I moved to Tuscany (anniversary next week) I was able to leave all my boxes with letters and photos and mementos with my parents. I’m not all that sure that by now my sister (who is a major throw-awayer) didn’t throw much of it away. I better not ask or I’d get upset. I also love your writing routine. I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting your answers this way.
We have been here almost 19 years. It feels odd to say it, but it really HAS been awhile. I have been through most of the boxes but I can’t seem to master the art of the toss. I love the wall color too!
Your post brought to mind one of my favorite photos: my Dad at his desk with his toys (windup Sesame Street figures!) a cat, books, a smiling grandchild… I have it in a digital frame and each time it revolves thru I notice something else in the background that says what was important to my Dad at that time. I’m so glad I took those photos of smiling loved ones amidst their things!
We had to purge to do some work on our house awhile back and I took photos of things I had to say goodbye to…..remembering my younger self…a good prompt-thank you!
Thanks for sharing, Bailey. I love that idea of shooting people in their comfort zones. You can almost see the relaxation spread across faces when they are in their own sacred spaces. I’m hoping to do a whole roll of black & white film in an old Nikon camera and I want to do nothing but hands. So many stories come from what we manage to create, too.