I’ve been quiet for a while, and that’s because I’ve been going through a major life change. I’ve sold our family home, which has been part of our lives for nearly 25 years and have spent the last 6 weeks intensively clearing, sorting and packing. Last week I closed the door on my home for the last time and said goodbye to it. It’s been an interesting, emotional, intense few weeks.
Despite regular clear outs, I have spent a couple of months letting go of possessions that had been deliberately held on to. Things that immediately bring back memories of my young children, friends, places visited, special moments. I discovered boxes of letters written 20-30 years ago by friends and former sweethearts. It was important to me to read these, to remember those times, those individuals – before letting them go, keeping only the most special. I realised just how much I had collected and accumulated over 25 years – it was time to let go of schoolbooks, old reports, my children’s artwork (anyone else have a portfolio of their children’s art?) – this was photographed for posterity first – and I agonised over some of it once it had gone. I’ve worked from home for many years – and as a result of this, I had stored boxes and files related to that work. Again, time to sift, recap, sort and discard, keeping only the most significant and those which are still relevant to my future endeavours. This sifting offered another trip down memory lane, as I revisited my varied career and read reports and correspondence from time working overseas, from starting up new ventures, from colleagues who have passed on since that time. On reflection, it has been much easier to let go of household items, which cost more money to acquire – dishes, furniture, appliances – than it was to let go of those personal letters, paintings and reports. Appliances and furniture don’t require a revisit to your 20, 25, 30 year old self, to your former toddlers and young children.
Of course, the biggest letting go has been the house itself. It was time to end a chapter. But of course, when the prospect of leaving is an absolute reality, nostalgia floods in and one is constantly assailed with memories, with appreciation of its attributes, with gratitude for its constant presence – a nest, a crucible for family life, a haven, a space to let go and be oneself. And nostalgia hits equally with the community – a place which, like the house, has become interwoven with us, with our souls and our lives. Extricating one’s thread from the tapestry of a place leaves one colour less – until a new entrant adds their particular thread and the tapestry continues. On reflection, I feel so fortunate to have lived in that house and within that community.
This has been the closing of a chapter. And it has been mentally and physically exhausting. I am in an intermediate zone, staying in a Cornish cottage, recuperating, catching up on sleep and pausing to reflect. Being mindful of self-care, aware of what I need right now to recover. I hope soon to start dreaming of the next chapter, of what it might be, of where it might happen. Considering what to harvest from all that has gone before, what to carry through into the future. With no concrete plans, it feels a bit dangerous – there is an element of fear making its presence felt – a new home has not materialised yet – and I am acutely noting this mental and emotional state – and trying to ride it. Letting go has been and still is very important. Discernment, openness, acceptance also. Allowing mindful self- awareness every day. Allowing time – holding a space for a new chapter to emerge.