October 1, 2020
Let me explain …
I’m an incredibly sentimental person. From cards and handwritten letters to items of clothing to physical knick knacks, I enjoy being able to spend time in reflection on individual mementos from the past, as well as experiences with family and friends.
Prior to moving into my most recent home, I’d collected several mementos, many of which I hadn’t opened or interacted with for years. For example, I’d kept a box of birthday cards received from my mom and dad throughout my childhood. I’d clung to old journals written in, beginning at the age of 10 through my late 30s. And, though I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, I’d clung to gifts and flowers received from old boyfriends over the years – yikes!
As I began to unpack and survey everything I’d held onto, the experience gave me pause and forced me to ask myself a few questions …
Some of the items in my possession were reminders of past highlights — thoughtful cards from friends and loved ones, including my mom who died in 2012. Others served as reminders of how resilient I am, like a picture taken after completing treatment following a significant medical crisis. And finally, certain possessions — namely items of clothing, mentally thrust me to various countries around the world, as I’d purchased them on missions and other meaningful trips.
Of course, some of my remnants served as physical reminders of my mom and other deceased loved ones. The last Bible my mom read, for example. And a dear friend’s bracelet she’d let me borrow prior to her death. They offered comfort in moments of grief, affording me the opportunity to feel connected to them in some way. On the other hand, certain items no longer seemed to fit with my present life — like the card received from an old flame on our one-year dating anniversary. Or pictures of people, likely acquaintances from the past, who I could no longer remember. These keepsakes rooted me in the 1990s and early 2000s, yet offered no emotional or spiritual harvest in the present moment.
Honestly, many of them didn’t … which led me to the idea of having a garage sale in the first place.
I created three simple signs to designate sections throughout my living room: Good Fit, Undecided, and Bad Fit. And over a period of several hours, I systematically separated all of my mementos into one of the three sections.
One of my first discoveries is that I was holding on to size 6 and 8 clothes that I had no intention of ever wearing again. Even though I loved that Argentinian-designed sweater and the Grecian-style blouse! As a woman in her early 40s, however, I cared more about fit than size anyway. So many clothing items fell into the ‘Bad Fit’ section. They no longer served me or my future.
I placed personal effects from closest friends and loved ones in the ‘Good Fit’ pile, and then carefully considered items in the ‘Undecided’ section. That specific stack sat in my living room for weeks as I paid special attention to my emotional reactions to it every morning. This proved so helpful. And shortly thereafter, I moved some of those mementos into the ‘Good Fit’ pile. Everything else had to go.
Whew, I’d done it! I was finally ready for the garage sale!
I felt free to focus on the relationships right in front of me. Free to honor past experiences, yet cling to contentment in the here-and-now. Free to release the things that no longer served me.
What beautiful life lessons I learned … all on the heels of a garage sale!
This, my friend, was one of my most authentic acts of self-love.
Sometimes, reminiscing on the past hinders our present and future … which leads me to a question for you.
I challenge you to clear some proverbial space in your living room and determine whether certain things are a good or bad fit. Perhaps certain life lessons await you on the other side!
You’ll be glad you did!
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