For years I have secretly sneered at people who are too neat and tidy. Who have a home for everything. Who could lay their hand to anything in their home within a couple of minutes. My philosophy has always been that the most interesting people always live in a right mess. Being organised always seemed a bit ...naff. An eclectic, arty mess, that's what I've always loved. And so I have proudly cultivated what has become in actual fact, more like a total sh*t tip!!!
And for the first time in my adult life, I want to organise my drawers. I'm tired of looking for everything. Of not knowing where stuff is. Of not being able to fully enjoy my stuff because so much of it is inaccessible under piles and piles of other stuff! I'm wondering if it really is so naff to know where your stuff is. At least to the nearest metre. Or two.
I am also coming to the conclusion that in order to support who the kids actually are, I need to let go of what I had hoped they would be...who I've been benignly trying to steer them to be. Part of that is addressing the issue of their stuff. By issue, I mean my issue.
I am finally realising that the sooner I make peace with the fact that we do not live in a 1950's idyll, the better. The boys like Pokemon. And pirates. And , well, BOYISH stuff. They are interested in their own things that I had not foreseen. They belong to their own age, they are forging their own way, they have their own unique likes and dislikes. They are not clones of us. They dream their own dreams. These writings by Kahlil Gibran keep coming into my mind....
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
So within the context of clearing things out and getting with the programme of where my kids are really at , I turned my attention to the children's bedroom. It's hard to accept that there are some things they are just not interested in. That they quite possibly will never be interested in. Books that seem so lovely. Toys that look like they ought to be loved. Expensive toys and gifts. So much guilt attached to them, an emotional bunch of 'shoulds' and regrets. They should read this, they should like this, they should cherish this. And yet they don't. They cherish quite different things. They have their own currency. They get off on different things. The toys and books they get a high from are not necessarily the same as the books and toys I get high from looking at, owning, having in the house.
So with a deep breath and a positive outlook, this weekend I decided to do them a favour and free them of all this stuff. After months of having two bookshelves in their bedroom, one buckled and broken under the weight of all the books - I reduced all their books by about half, asking myself each time "who is this book really for - them or me?" If the answer was 'me', or in fact, anyone else other than them, out it went. Going round the house, I've systematically started to look at everything from this angle.
In turn, each room is being reduced to what we really really want to keep. It was hard to begin with but I knew I had to change the old internal dialogue if I wanted to really let go. I've packed up literally dozens of bags of stuff to be sold/given away. It's amazing how liberated I feel - instead of thinking what we are losing, what a shame/waste etc... I'm enjoying the empty spaces that are being left behind and thinking how much some other person will love this stuff! How it might be exactly what somebody out there needs or wants. Someone who will love and cherish this stuff. I am happy for them, and us!
As well as clearing out the living room of toys that the kids have outgrown, I moved the coffee table outside onto the decking, throwing open the space and making the room emptier. I loved what we could do in this newfound openness - Alf rode his little bike around...we did an exercise routine on the wii, with room to move freely... the floor has been a place of movement, of freedom, of open-ended use.
I am saying YES! to less. I am saying YES to getting our sh*t together.
I am choosing to be free and more me.
I am feeling fine with re-invention, evolution, feeling emptier, dreaming new dreams never dreamed before.
I am opening myself up to new possibilities.
I am re-writing the script I keep telling myself about what I 'need' to be happy.
Becoming more aware that I need to embrace who the kids truly are instead of who I wish them to be.
Ditto everyone else.
Re-examining my old ideas and prejudices.
Giving my head a spring clean.
Clearing the space for new things to happen.
I am embracing the flow and going with it.
Woooohoooo - it feels grand!!!!