Purging or just letting go?

If you ever want to bear witness to the passage of time just head to your spice cabinet! As I sorted through the myriad of spices, I reorganized the many bottles of vanilla extract I was storing in anticipation of baking a lot of chocolate chip cookies apparently! What was that recipe I made requiring those flakes back in 2004? Must not have been memorable since that virtually full container is still there and never employed again. Do red and green Christmas sugar cookie toppings have an expiration date? We get busy and honoring sell by dates is rarely at the top of our “to do” lists. One might argue that if I am obsessing about cleaning out my spice cabinet that maybe I am not busy enough?

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Recently, I dove into my closets and cabinets making early spring-cleaning look like an Olympic event. Purging? Maybe.  The very personal stuff in our homes is the hardest to lose but unless it ‘sparks joy in your heart’, says Marie Kondo, you should get rid of it.Marie Kondo is the current day guru on how to rid our lives of sentimental clutter. The sweaters, the jeans and oh the race tee shirts. Race tee shirts are the coveted reminders of successful and not so successful running events.  I remember some of my race times and many of the important race times but mostly I remember the feelings and emotions behind running the events. Standing in the middle of my bedroom looking at the pile of tee shirts I began feeling wistful of much faster running and racing days. Yes, yes, yes, I am happy I still get out the door more days than not but…it is different now!

“It is different now” has become a mantra of sorts. I have resisted accepting the ever so popular phrase “next chapter” as is commonly used when someone is describing a person of a certain age, selling their beloved family home in search of that “what next” period of life.  Next chapter feels so uninspired with an uncomfortable finality to it. Next chapter also has a tinge of acceptance of slowing down or wrapping things up. I have no interest in either. Time is tricky.

How is it we can recount the memories of our youth with such vividness? Sounds and smells can invoke a very strong emotional response often times tied to our childhood experiences. I very recently was talking with a dear friend about an early childhood memory. When I was a young school age child, I was very shy and daily would get homesick for my mom.  Sitting at my classroom desk, watching the clock or looking out the classroom window I would hear the sound of our kitchen silverware drawer closing or the kitchen cabinet snapping shut.  I can still hear it. Every home has its own rhythm and experiences where good and bad memories form and remain. Over the years we have bought and sold a number of homes for a number of reasons. With each move there is a tugging of my heartstrings and a mourning of sorts. I love where I live now in my little house on the hill in such a beautiful state. I am excited about the new adventure before me. Yes, excited. What I am realizing as I try to reflect on the sadness, I feel about letting go of past homes is actually the mourning of the life I lived in that home and not the actual structure. I am missing those faster times…

As an artist I frequently rely on social media for connecting and marketing my work. There is a certain pressure with using these platforms. They can be wonderful marketing tools, but they can also present a certain amount of stress. Once again, I am presented with issues surrounding the pressure of time. Pressure of time felt through aging, accomplishing all I want to do artistically and making sure I stay relevant on social media. What happens if I don’t post frequently? I will become irrelevant. Irrelevant? We are only as worthy as our social media “likes?”   This is how we judge ourselves? Our work? A lifetime? With the advent of social media our relevancy diminishes virtually immediately. We can become a thing of the past within moments. Have you ever been on Twitter? My word, within seconds relevancy diminishes. The amount of instantaneous information we are bombarded with daily in just mere characters is astounding and impossible to truly process. One topic urgently bounces to the next taking precedence over the last without any depth of information. As I scroll through, I count on my mind’s agility to be as sharp as that young girl sitting at her school desk thinking about how slowly time was passing.  If I only knew then what I know now…

Do we still enjoy lazy childlike summer afternoons lying on our backs relying on our imagination to see the shapes the clouds are making, or do we just photograph them and immediately post them on Instagram? Hoping for the former…

 

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