Sunday, January 25, 2015

Minimizing Stuff

There's an online community board that I visit that had the idea of tossing one item per day as a way to minimize the "stuff" we all have.  So I've been trying to do this since one item per day seems much more manageable then cleaning out entire rooms.  And anything counts--from half-used bottles of shampoo, to holey name it.

I'm not always good about tossing something every day, so I try to make up for it by tossing several things at once, if I can.

Today I was inspired to toss some things out as I was making my grocery list and noticing the dates on some of the food in the frig.  Now don't get the wrong impression.  My frig is clean, with very little in it in fact.  But there are some basic staples that I believe you need to have.  Today as I cleaned out the frig, I found that the two small cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls were dated Mar 2013 and Apr 2013.  This totally surprised me.  I would have put money on the fact that I bought them in the past year.  But instead they are dated the month/year Ed went into the hospital and the month/year in which he passed.  So I would have had to buy these while Ed was still here.  So then, of course, this made me sad.  To think that I bought these planning that we would have them with dinner some evening.  And it also puzzled have I had these for two years?  And the reminder that it is almost two years since Ed passed.  What has happened to that time?  Where did it go?  It feels like yesterday.

But the crescent rolls went into the trash.  I was able to let them go!  And I was on a roll (albeit a small one) and headed for the closet.  I thinned out and tossed plastic bags, in particular the "good" ones sitting at the bottom of the container that I never use!

I then went through the pile of "specialty" napkins that Dan always makes fun of because they sit there with the intention that I will use them, but I never do.  The New Year's napkins dated 2000 is proof of this!  Gosh, I remember that New Year's--the big threat of Y2K--would the world make it? would all our electronics survive?  That was 15 years ago. Wow--15 years ago when my life was full of happiness and joy.  So I reminisced....and tossed the napkins in the trash.

Through all this tossing, though, I find I do walk a fine line between trying to minimize the "stuff" I have in my life and being wasteful.  I mean, there was nothing wrong with those napkins and I've held onto them for 15 years because they are still usable.  Have I used them?  No.  But you never know when you'll run out of napkins or paper towels or any other paper or cloth item on which to wipe your hands!!  But I was strong, and they went into the trash!!  The three different colored saran wraps from an Easter many, many years ago, remained though.  I have learned that I just need to go with my gut and do what feels right at that moment in time.

And I did write crescent rolls on my grocery list.  I mean, I obviously haven't eaten any in 2 years, but I may need them next week!  I do find the humor in this and can laugh at myself which is a good thing.

In all of this, though, I realize I continue to stay in the "safe" zone.  Throwing out outdated food (that's an easy one) or items that have no sentimental value at all (or very little).  But the majority of Ed's things still remain.  And his Hot Rod magazines and Golf magazines that I threatened many times to throw out on him, still remain.  I have the "freedom" to finally get rid of them, but I can't.  Someday, but not today....

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I'm a mix of emotions lately.  Some days I get through feeling "happy" (I'm still tentative in using that word), others I'm sad, angry, stressed, or just plain nothing.

I know my mother being sick and in the hospital and rehab these past 6 weeks is wearing on me.  It has added to my list of things I need to do.  Every day I fit in going to see my mother.  The drive alone takes 30-40 mins one way so when I wonder where my day has gone and what have I accomplished, this explains some of it.  Some people, including my mother, have suggested that I don't go see her every day.  But what is my reason for not going--I'm too busy?  That to me is certainly not a valid reason.  And then she tells me how much she appreciates seeing me every day and how could I disappoint her by not going?  Funny how even at my age, I still don't want to disappoint my mother.  That kinda annoys me!

And is the priority right now.  The dusting can wait.  Spot vacuuming works.  Cleaning out files and de-cluttering can also wait.  The Christmas tree and decorations are still up.  I "should" take them down, but the lights on the tree at night make me smile.  So, I think instead of taking the tree down this weekend, I'll put away the other decorations and let the lights that brighten the living room each evening remain because they bring me happiness and peace (until I stress over the fact that the Christmas tree is still up!).  I wonder, if I leave it up long enough will I have to dust off the ornaments?  Yikes!

I am finding support from my friends which I appreciate and I hate all at the same time.  I appreciate them...these friends I didn't know 2 years ago who have become my support and sounding board.  And I hate it because it reminds me, every so often, how Ed has been replaced by all of them.  He was my single support when life got too stressful and I needed to vent to someone--he knew how to listen and tell me what I needed to hear and make me feel supported.  He understood when I was angry and whether I was right or wrong, he let me feel how I felt and helped me work through it.  He hugged me just at the right time to make me feel loved, protected, and supported.

That is probably what I miss the most.  That one person who just "gets" me no matter what the mood.  And the loneliness....  That person to support me, to be there for me, to know if I even make it home safely at night.  That one person who cares for me and about me and lets me know in small, gentle ways that he appreciates me and loves me....  The phone call or text just to check on me; the small gift to surprise me; the simple things to make my life easier and to show he cares.

I'm learning to appreciate some of the benefits of being alone--I do what I want, when I want.  I choose what I'm having for dinner and eat when I want.  I have total control of the TV remote. And the reality is that dealing with my mother's illness and what I need to do in terms of seeing her or taking care of things at her house, I do on my timetable.  There's no one waiting at home, no one else I need to consider or be accountable to--freedom and sadness all wrapped up in one.

I know some of the stress I'm feeling right now is also because I tend to look at the time after the holidays, the winter, as a time to get my inside projects done and take life a little more slowly and have more down time.  Clean-out files and closets.  Take the time to do things like a jigsaw puzzle.  But I haven't done any of this yet.  Of course it's only been a week since the holidays were over.  Maybe I should cut myself some slack....something I have recognized I have a very hard time doing.

So I guess instead of sitting here writing this blog, I should go be productive.  If I have this list of "to do's", it doesn't get done, sitting here on the computer.  But updating this blog was on my list so I guess I get to cross that off, at least for now.  And that makes me happy.

I hope the new year is being kind to you and yours.  Enjoy the time inside with loved one as we hunker down with this brutally cold weather.  I appreciate the roof over my head, the warmth of my home, and, yes, the lights on the Christmas tree!