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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Entry 80: KISS it simple silly

For the past few months (years really), I've been getting rid of things, pairing down and shedding myself of clutter. It started with a cottage I rented with my son and then fiance. Back then I nested, decorated and felt all around joy when I looked around and found our house cozied up for our little family. I had almost everything I wanted (the love of my life, a great son, and the dream job) and it was awesome.
But then the family disbanded - the fiance left (twice), my son moved on to his own life and I injured myself at work. It was somewhere between all of that that I became deeply, deeply depressed and started to have a long think about life. I was up to my neck in trying produce my version of a traditionalish home life but was very much alone and profoundly unhappy. 
Bummed out by old ideas and feeling poopy.
 (not an actual photograph)
At some point, I decided I had to get myself into therapy and to Alanon and AA. I learned how to let go of (some of) the mess rumbling around in my head and, around the same time, I realized I needed to simplify my surroundings.  I realized I was not obligated to stay in that house, with all those memories and be nothing but sad beyond sad. No one was coming home so there was no need to make with the cozy anymore. It was time clean out for whatever was coming next (which, btw, has ended up to be a HUGE adventure I never could have taken with all that stuff and old ideas tied to my being.)
Granted, the decluttering or urge to purge took several stages and about 3 years but the house was stuffed with stuff - furniture, signs, rusty bits I'd found on the road, bird's wings, skeletons, OLD bottles, Christmas decorations, pillows, blankets and books....lots and lots of books. When the great purge began our little cottage was packed floor to ceiling to attic with stuff that looked good, seemed like things people would want to have around them but completely cluttered my head and distracted me from a having an adventurous life. The sheer volume and weight was desperately overwhelming - my collection of books alone included 8 sets of encyclopedias and over 4 dozen Webster dictionaries. There were so many books, in fact, that after the first two stages of the purge I managed to glean it down to a mere 14 cases of books that I just could "not part with" so they went into storage. The stuff ate at me and dogged my heart all the time but I genuinely thought this was what defined you as being a valuable person. This is what made other people like you. This is what made you a grown up - details and decorations and stuff on top of stuff.
And now here we are 8 years after that initial think about my life, 6 years after the start of purging, 4 years after my big move off Cape Cod and now I'm down to living in one room with a couple cases of books, a few boxes of reference material and assorted items I will most likely end up giving up soon. I don't need much around me anymore - I don't need couches and chairs or a knife set or rusty bits or 100s and 100s of books. I don't need to nest and decorate. Instead, I need to keep my spaces clear so my mind is on what I'm meant to do and not on stuck hanging on to things and ideas that don't serve me anymore or my purpose: painting.
Likewise, even in painting, I know, there are times where I can't do anything else but declutter and clean. Sometimes, no matter how much fluffing or decorating or correcting I do on a painting, the best idea is to simplify. Even in painting, there is a point when I have to let go of ideas that just aren't working anymore -

"Keep It Simple Silly Pants"

P.S. I'm still not the happiest person in life but I have gotten better at letting go of some things .

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