Storage Locker

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My husband and I finally cleared out our storage locker this week.

When we moved to Charleston, there was just too much to fit into the tiny antique house we bought, so we paid for a cube of space to store the stuff we didn’t use every day. When we bought a slightly larger antique house this year with an attic that could hold most, if not all, of our stuff, we knew it was time to face the storage locker.

Cue the metaphors.

We had saved things from our old lives that we thought might re-emerge in our new lives. Just-in-case folding chairs from years of watching our daughter play soccer, enough for a tribe of soccer fans we never had and never will. A Total Gym in case we turn one of our precious few bedrooms into a workout room. Art from an office I’ve retired from, in colors that seemed right then but seem too loud in the water-softened South Carolina air. Business papers from relatives dead for years, the ink faded and the paper soft with damp.

And so many photographs, stuffed carelessly in boxes, their edges curling now. Images of my daughter as a saucer-eyed baby slide over images of her as a hip-jutting teen. Images of us in lives we no longer lead.

Some we dumped in a nearby dumpster. Some we donated to thrift stores that benefit animals or children. The photographs and a few other things, we kept for later.

And now, as the week, and the year, wind down, our living room is cluttered with boxes, stern reminders to sort through our lives. We are tripping over boxes because my husband has made the rule: nothing gets hauled upstairs until it has been sorted.

So, I am going to take the physical reminder as a metaphorical one. It is time to sort through my emotions and memories, keep the ones I truly cherish, and just let go of the ones that don’t fit who I am now.

Happy new year, my friends!

junk boxes

Resolving to Be Human

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There is a long letter, full of photos and cheery news from the past year that I write this time each year to friends and relatives. This is also the time I create my list of resolutions.

 

But this year, I just haven’t had the energy to write a long letter detailing 2013, which was shadowed with trying to regain my footing after my beloved Mama’s death in January. Every few weeks last year, another friend’s parent seemed to die, sending me back into the black. So, I haven’t written a letter. And there goes one of my resolutions already, the one to do a better job of staying in touch with friends and family.

 

In searching for resolutions, I found a long story about the best way to make the year matter, most of which involves asking yourself the big questions like, “Why Am I Here?” All good questions, but none of which I think I can consider in the hurly-burly of daily life. Maybe if I scheduled a trip to an ashram… (which probably should be another resolution!).

 

Another list has some really great suggestions that would certainly make me a better human being.  Unlike the grand questions on the previous list, this one details the person I would like to be, maybe even the person I think I can be. The list seems to boil down to two themes: spend more time being by yourself and spend more time being kind to others. The trick, of course, is how to balance those two. Some mornings, I can do both at once; on those mornings, the kindest thing I can do for others is to be by myself since I am not fit company for anyone. My eye keeps finding #22 on the list: Stop shaming yourself for doing things that are perfectly, normally human, but happen to be deemed imperfect in society.

 

This actually hews closer to another philosophy I discovered, a parenting philosophy that might be the best resolution of all for me this year. Called the CTFD Parenting Method, it urges parents to just Calm The F**& Down. Here’s something I can get behind. Every time I get anxious that I am underachieving, every time I fall short of my arbitrary measures, every time the harshest judge – myself – sneers and shakes her head at my shortcomings, I need to CTFD.

 

Come to think of it, maybe this would be a good resolution for our politicians as well. What about you? Any one resolution resonate this year?

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Maybe we should resolve to break resolutions…