Sunday, March 30, 2014

Growing Up or Growing Old?

I have been reading a good deal of minimalist blogs and articles lately and I am having a change of mind about things.  An epiphany, so to speak.  This great revelation?  I hate clutter.   I REALLY hate clutter.  The thing is -- what, exactly, IS clutter? 

I have had a creative streak all my life.  From the time I was little and begged Granny Schmidt (my OTHER grandmother, actually no relation) to teach me to make pot holders on a little loom from the five and dime, I have had my hands in some sort of crafty endeavor.  However, crafty endeavors usually involve space and mess. It used to not bother me.  I could sew with a baby on my lap or cross stitch with kids on either side of me making a mess of the thread.  I could leave it there to pick up again in the next ten minutes or the next month and it never bothered me.  Now, not so much.

I don't have a lot of time to get involved in crafty things anymore and honestly, I don't have a lot of interest anymore either.  It seems like the enjoyment is overshadowed by the mess.  I don't have a dedicated sewing room -- and don't really want one because I am afraid it would make me crazy if it wasn't cleaned up and everything put away all the time.  It seems like my life is just taking a different turn.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I think would make me happy at this point in my life.  The first thing that I see when I close my eyes is a clean house.  I don't mean just dusted, vacuumed and mopped -- I mean every flat surface empty.  I can see having what I need and no more and all those things in their place. When I think about all the crafting things stashed in drawers and cabinets and closets I feel my skin crawling.  I spent the better part of the weekend going through and throwing away magazines and I was almost physically ill because to me it seemed I was throwing away money but the truth of the matter is, we have no more room to store magazines.  Pure and simple.  The dust the emanated from the piles sent my allergic response into a tail spin so those piles of mags were literally making me sick.  I finally just threw everything away. 

The second thing I see is taking care of myself.  Less stress for one thing.  For some reason I feel like I SHOULD be doing all these crafty things, that I should WANT to do them but I don't. That causes me stress because I feel like I am not doing something I should be doing. What do I want to do?  I want to get my hair done and polish my toenails.  I want to take walks and sit on the patio and watch the birds.  I want to read wonderful books and go to bed early in a clean, uncluttered, undusty bedroom.  I want to walk in my bathroom and see a clean vanity with NOTHING on it.   I want my world to be calm and quiet.

I don't know if something is wrong with me, if I am just getting old or maybe just growing up.  I don't know if I am finally looking at my life through my eyes at what I want rather than what other people want me to do or what I think I should do in comparison to other people.  Maybe I am just becoming true to myself.  Maybe there are just not enough hours in a day and I am having to prioritize.  I think that is what it is.  I am having to decide what is the most important way to spend my time, what things do I find enjoyable and what environment makes me the most comfortable.  Maybe I have learned I can't do it all and truthfully don't want to. Maybe I have learned that less is more. 

The answer to the initial question -- what is clutter?  In my eyes, clutter is anything that isn't used, beautiful, loved and doesn't have a place. Clutter is anything that saps your energy or creates anxiety (NOT children -- children aren't clutter!).  There are all sorts of clutter -- paper, supplies, books, magazines, noise, decor, color -- whatever creates chaos in your existence. The eight bottles of extremely dated, stinky cologne that I won't throw out because they were gifts comes immediately to mind.

Now that I have identified clutter -- the trick is to get rid of it in a timely manner sans guilt.  Yes, that is a trick.  I don't think a person should feel guilty over inanimate objects like fabric or scrapbooking supplies.  My problem is that I see these things as money -- they cost money so to throw them away or give them away is the same is throwing away money.  I have to get past that.  Maybe donating them would be helpful.  However, whatever it takes is what I will do because I need to set about creating this new environment and way of life for myself.  I don't want to feel guilty over passing along some sewing stuff.  What I want is to feel like  I don't have to practically renovate the house for somebody to walk in the front door.  It is more important to me to have a clean, welcoming home than to have copious amounts of stuff around me taking up precious real estate in closets and drawers.  There, I said it.  That is what I want.  I want the things and activities that are important to me and I want to get rid of all the junk.

So, am I growing old or growing up?

Stream of Consciousness

I was looking for a new meme for Sunday and ran across this one at  The idea is to set a timer and write for five minutes, whatever comes into your head, whatever you are thinking about -- possibly even word association, I would suppose.  So, for the next five minutes I am going to give it a go.  One, two, three -- go.

Do you believe in genetic memory?  From what I understand, genetic memory is memory(ies) that is passed on to you through your DNA -- memories of your parents, grandparents, etc.  I think the idea is completely bizarre except for the dream.  

Yes, I have always had a recurring dream -- well, not always -- it started when I was a child and continued until I went on a quest to find the house. I found the house and never had the dream again.

In the dream I am standing behind an old high school near downtown. Like most of the buildings of it's era it was imposing and elaborate.  It was the only high school in town for a long time -- the first high school, if you will.  I was on the street behind it looking at a house.  I was in current time but the house was not-- it was almost like a split screen on a tv program but part of it was very foggy -- like an old sepia photo -- and there was a wagon with a horse attached sitting in front on the street. I knew this house, it was familiar, I knew who was in the house.....I woke up.

Ok, my five minutes are up.  That is what I woke up thinking about this morning.  I don't know why, I haven't thought about it for a long time.  Maybe it is because I am planning a summer return to my hometown and that is where this house is.  Every time I go I try to see the house -- one day I am sure I will go and it won't be there.  I will be sad because this house draws me in -- not in a bad way -- and I need to know the connection.  Ah, genealogy -- there is never an end to it.