The Things You Unload When You Start Packing Up
Last week, I spent most of my time packing up my old house, getting it ready for to put up for sale. As I shared some of the highlights on my personal facebook page, many people responded with: "It must be so sad, so emotional to move from your family home."
Truth is, it is quite the contrary! As stressful it is to wait now for news from the realtor, the actual process of emptying a sprawling suburban house to keep only what might fit in a downtown condo was liberating.
Like many people, I'd built up a collection of "unfinished projects"...
That instagram post was telling: I came across projects, my children laughed, some friends encouraged me to hold onto them.
I had a closet full of scrapbooking tools, buckets of wool and fabric, a box of knitting needles, plus an assortment of paints, brushes and canvases - many with first coats down. I had more than one portfolio of art - even dating back to my art lessons at the Mairie de Paris' "Ateliers des Beaux Arts"... and I could go on..
I could feel the weight of guilt and even shame for the all of the dreams I'd had that had never come to fruition. In my mind's eye, the outcome was also so clear and I always took great, great pleasure in sketching out plans and dreaming up colour schemes. But the evidence was brutal: I would never have enough lives to wrap these up.
A radical decision was made: I would only focus on what I truly felt like doing. Right now, my creative loves are beading, telling stories and writing songs. I put my beads, pencils, sketchbook and guitar to the side and proceeded to dispose of the rest!
A scrapbooking mama almost cried when she saw how much there was in the lot she had just bought for a few bucks. A school teacher left with a smile and all the supplies she would need for the upcoming year. A young woman came and took a garage-load of free stuff that she could resell and make a few bucks with (we had to empty the garage for the sale)... With every paper and brush out of the door, I felt lighter and lighter. It was, in fact, exhilarating to "give up" on these objects - I realized somewhere in that process that I was actually giving up my regrets. I was feeling relief from the burden of the "one day I'll get to it"...
Maybe I'll tire of beading and go back to knitting. And if I do, I'll unload my beads and buy one pair of needles and one ball of wool (not a closet full!) Right now, I have what I need. And everything I have feels welcoming. Manageable. Lighthearted. Happy.
What does this mean for artists?
I came to think about so many artists I know who have CDs aplenty in their garages. Some of you may have learned to travel light and keep your "stuff" to a minimum. But others may feel weighed down by the past - old equipment, instruments, computer gear, merch, etc. that have outgrown their purpose and lived past their expiry date.
There's the physical stuff and of course, there are the emotional expectations that we also carry with us. "I need to, I gotta, One day I'll...."
What if you just chucked it all?
Imagine what your life might feel like if you could just keep the things and thoughts that bring you pleasure and energy?!
It may sound daunting but I promise you that once you get started with your sorting, you'll feel happier.
Sorting is easy: Do I want this in my life? Is this something I need? If not - bye bye.
If you give it away, you'll create great joy for someone else values it more. If you throw it away, it might not feel great for the planet. But it does become a humbling lesson and reminder of not buying stuff you don't absolutely need or want going forward.
You don't have to battle the pile in one go. I had to because of the showings... (wish me luck! my goodness the waiting IS stressful, I'll admit!). You can also take it one paper at a time... you'll find that it gets easier as you go.
Those unfinished projects in your life were part of your creative growth process. They were not a waste of time or money, but areas of play and experimentation. And that in itself makes them worthy. Thank them and bid them well as you let them go.
What do you think? Do you have experiences or tips to share? I'd love to hear them!
PS. As I announced last post, we'll be taking a short break from the Hangs this month. That said, I do miss you all and so will do my best to set something up so that we can check in and say hi! In the meantime, I welcome your notes and messages! Stay cool and safe - hope summer is treating you well.