A Freudian psychiatrist would have a field day with the dream I had last night. (Okay, this morning, after I went back to bed after feeding the dog. It’s Spring Break, y’all.)
I dreamed I was living in the apartment that I lived in while looking for this house. And it was full of trash and broken old stuff and simply useless things. (Anyone who’s ever taught kids knows what I mean. I LOVED that little Suzy gave me a Hannah Montana Christmas ornament made out of macaroni, but I did not mourn its demise by squirrels in the attic. Hypothetically.)
So, anyway. It’s not Hoarders: Buried Alive bad, but this apartment in my dream looks like my kitchen junk drawer, only all over. So dream me decides to start throwing out the actual trash. And then throwing out the broken stuff. And then throwing out the stuff that is meaningless bricabrac. Then all the clothes that are too big, too small, too gifted-by-my-great-aunt-Ida.
And in the process, I discovered an entire room in this apartment that I’d forgotten it had. A room with a closet big enough to be an extra room for either a study or a sewing room, with a closet of it’s own. (I”m sort of obsessed with closets, which is kind of Freudian in itself.)
The psychology behind this is so clear, I’m not even going to point it out. Except I am. Once we get rid of the useless and broken things we’re holding onto, we find time/space/energy/emotion for things that are important.
THEN–here’s the kicker. When I finally did get my butt out of bed, I’m eating my cereal and Mom comes out of her “suite” and she’s looking sort of shell-shocked, so I ask her what’s up. She’s doing this Lenten “cyber retreat” of reading and stuff, and today’s reading was about how we should never be so attached to material things that we wouldn’t be willing to give them up. So she said, clearly shaken, “What if I had to give up my sewing machine?”
Now, Mom owns the BMW of sewing machines. It’s got all this embroidery stuff, and a computer, and it does everything but sliced your bread for you. And quilting/embroidering is her THING, if you know what I mean. She can’t get around very easily, but she can make beautiful things with this machine. Unlike little Suzy’s macaroni Montana, this gives her great joy.
So I told Mom, “You’d sew by hand.” She thought about it a moment, then her shoulders relaxed, and she said, “Yes, I would. I could still make beautiful things.”
Of course she could. My ninety year old grandmother is partially blind, but she still knits beautiful sweaters.
I once gave up the Internet for Lent. I allowed myself one e-mail check a day. That’s it. No message boards, no IM chat, no surfing. Now, this was before I was writing for a living, but I would say about 80% of my social activity was online. (Okay, 90%, but I don’t want y’all to think I was a freak.) My friends lived in other states, I was participating in a writing message board, and IM chat was a big part of my day. It was REALLY hard. And that was before Twitter and Facebook!
But I still wrote. I wrote a lot. (It was just a hobby then.) I wrote by hand, to stay away from the computer. And I found time for a lot of other things, too. Of course, they were all indoors, and I didn’t do anything so radical as go make face to face friends. But giving up the computer did not make me any less of who I am.
So, I’m curious. What could you get rid of easily? And what could you give up that would be painful but possible? Would it change who you are, or would it give you more space in your life to BE that person?
p.s. Maybe the theme for today is Thinky Thursday?