I think people in the age bracket of 20-35 live a life much different than they did before or after this bracket. It’s a time of many highs and painful lows, success and failure, heartwarming incidents to heartbreaking episodes, and so much more. We have many people coming in to our lives, and some leaving as well. We accumulate tons of materialistic possessions at the same time. Additionally, our emotional streams also face endless upheavals. Amongst all this, how do we, or I, keep my sanity intact? I have been wondering about it for a long time. And finally today I have the answer. De-cluttering.
If you are anything like me, you must know what it means to hold on to things. Eid cards from primary and secondary school’s friends, painted tiles from your summer camp, handful of scrap books, show pieces, pen holders and other such birthday gifts, and most importantly, pictures. People who believe that before the advent of Facebook, pictures weren’t as hyped about as they are now should meet me. For me, the inception of digital camera is the reason why we see pictures posted here, there and everywhere.
Anyway, coming back to the point, we gather things, people, emotions and relationships over time. Then comes a time when this gigantic collection over powers you. It becomes impossible for you to handle or do justice to many of the items (relationship included). And this is what I was going through. Too many gifts and cards rolling around and eventually dieing in dust, relationships going strong something and then falling apart for some odd reason, and thus, I find myself in a mess. So I decided, it’s time to de-clutter my life. With all due respect, I draw a line between my life and the baggage.
Whenever I dare look at my over-stuffed shelves of gifts, pictures, scrapbooks, etc, I reason with myself saying ‘this is my childhood and teenage years. My memories. I should keep them to walk through my life at a later stage’. But guess what, in all these years, I have been close to them only when my mom screamed on top of her lungs and demanded that I clean the mess, pronto!
I have decided to keep the pictures and do away with most of the remaining things. I won’t send them to trash; maybe give them away to someone needy. The truth is whatever I would like to remember will stay in my memory, however shadowed, for forever. I might need some reminders, and pictures will serve that purpose, but the rest has to go. Also, I need space for new memories. I need emotional establishments to hold my today.
Bonus: De-cluttering your life with materialistic possessions has an automatic and advantageous by product-de-cluttering memories. Out of sight out of mind, remember?
This shouldn’t be difficult for my obsession for work or workaholism has already taken care of it to a great extent. But at the same time, it has put me in a dilemma too. I sleep for 8 hours a day (I try to at least), work takes about 10-12 hours a day, allow about 2.5 hours for meals and about an hour for daily commute. Miscellaneous activities like showering, getting dressed/undressed, salon, etc take up an hour and half daily…am I forgetting anything? Hmm, I hope not. So that leaves me with a total of NEGATIVE ONE HOUR!!! There, you see my point! Where do I fit in relationships-friends, family, beloved, colleagues, acquaintances, and the likes? This is where effort comes in. Yes, I have days where I sleep and work less, eat less, don’t shower, skip salon…and then I have time to spare. But that doesn’t happen often! Anyway. So I eat with colleagues, travel with my loved ones, shop and go to beautician with my friends…you get the point right? However, there are still a few who are beyond my physical proximity and they deserve effort as well. So, I try to text them as often as possible, share daily events when possible, try to meet up when possible, so on and so forth. But there comes a time when you can feel distance creeping up. One of you falls short. One of us is too busy with their selves to acknowledge the other. “I broke up but she has a boyfriend as good as her shadow. I cannot deal with that right now. It’s alright if I just take some time off and soothe my wounds’ right? Guess what, it is not right! Two people can hardly be on the same wavelength (hasn’t Desperate housewives taught you anything!!) but being friends, you make an effort. You smile for the others sake. Logically thinking, what’s better-two people happy together (one genuinely and the other faking) or two people sad together (one genuinely and the other faking)? You got it right. I am not saying to forget your lessons for empathy and sympathy. If your friend is not having her time of your life, refrain from throwing your happiness in her face. Don’t yap yap about how perfect your life, family and boyfriend are. Let me tell you a story which seemed dire when it happened but appears sadly funny now. I had a friend who was having some love-life issues. They pulled her down with unearthly force and the creeping distance made it difficult for me to reach out to her. For some time, I decided to share every petty argument I had with my person just so that I appear to be on the same wavelength as her, and communication becomes easier between us. And predictably, the exercise failed. With a friend, or a best friend, you want to share your complete life-not just bad or good bits.
So, there will be friendships and relationship that you are dragging along for some god forsaken reason. It’s time to confront it and decide. They are going to be difficult and it is likely that you find yourself extremely alone. *long pause*
I don’t know how to go ahead from here on. Like me, you will be very tempted to retrace your steps and go back to square one. But don’t. If you do, you will only end up with disappointment, causing disappointment, baggage, unmet expectations, absent support, juvenile attempts of demanding attention, and what not. Force yourself to look at the brighter side. You will have more time for people who reciprocate your love, affection and concern, who make an effort to understand you and then stand by you through thick and thin. The deserving will get their share and you will be emotionally managing lesser people, thus greater efficiency and output.
Well, that kind of sums up my action plan for de-cluttering.