I’ve been in between work projects for about 2 weeks now, and I’ve taken that time to sort through and clean every closet and junk drawer in the house. Yes, OCD at its finest. I’m an expert purger, unforgiving when it comes to cleaning out the clutter from our house. Toys, clothes, books, knick knacks, games – anything that we haven’t used in a year gets boxed up and put out on the street. In New York, you can put things out on the curb and 98% of the time, everything will be gone in a matter of hours. But there are 2 things that I can never give up despite thinking that one day I might let them go: my old art supplies and boxes of old letters from various friends, some of which date back 20+ years. The most recent letters, aside from a few holiday and birthday cards are about 10 years old. I guess that was around the time my friends and I stopped writing letters and started emailing instead. The art supplies? Well, the thinking is that I would use them again. I look at the old calligraphy nibs from way back to sophomore year at Cooper and realize they were last used 24 years ago, but here they still are, in the art box, stored away with other relics. It’s funny that they’ve moved with me a few times across country.
I know why I get so zealous with the purging and organizing during down times; I’m not fooling myself. It’s both a distraction and a metaphor for what’s going through my mind when I’m not working, busy and occupied – a distraction from dangerous thoughts and a metaphor for decluttering the insecurities and doubts that inevitably work its way in.
The weekend was interesting. Little did I realize that when I wrote that “don’t give up” post on Friday, I’d be repeating it to myself over and over all weekend, but that’s exactly what I did. I questioned a lot of things. I questioned whether I was holding onto something that has worked for us in the past, but may not be working for us anymore. I questioned if my motivations for holding on were based on fear and selfishness, rather than the belief that this was the right thing to do. I questioned if the path that I had taken was the right path, now that I am here and looking back. I questioned whether or not I was living up to my potential; I already knew that I wasn’t living up to my expectations. I know I raise that bar high, maybe unrealistically so, but I questioned everything.
I’m struggling. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really know who I am anymore and that is a dark and scary place to be, but I emerged from the weekend determined to give myself the time and space to try and sort it out. This is the year. I came to the realization, finally, that one part of my life that I was holding onto was not going to play a part in my future much longer, despite both my efforts and denial. I am giving that up. So don’t give up, I wrote on Friday, unless you know that there is nothing left for you and it’s time to move on.
It’s time to move on now.