Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tossing Out My Old Life and Committing to the New

There are always seminal times in your life that you don't realize the importance of until much later. Today feels like it might be one of those days.

Today my husband and I are cleaning out our house and garage. A huge undertaking that makes me feel so much lighter for having done it. I'm scavenging all over the house, he's grabbing ten years of remodeling remnants. For instance, there's the carpeting and pad from the time we tore it all out of the downstairs and put in hardwoods. Some nasty old closet wood and some metal thing from when the furnace was replaced. We don't have a vehicle that will truck all this stuff away for us so it's all just sat, and accrued through the years in the house and in the garage.

So with half a week of vacation ahead of us we decided to get a dumpster and TOSS it all. And as we were tossing it all I started to dig a little deeper, past that couch we got when we were married, and the chair from the 70's his parents gave him for his first apartment. There deeper still, were my drawings and pastels from my college art classes. I've saved them all this time but for what? I'm never going to put nude sketches on my walls, just not my thing. But to see them again brought back memories of how cool and sophisticated I felt as an art student, drawing them.

Then there were the remnants of my past business lives. The things I did when I thought I really couldn't make it as an artist. Things like vases, floral spray paint, and other leftovers from my years as the owner of my own floral events business. Even before that there was the glassware I'd painted and tried to sell for a while in the mid '90's, my first attempt at a business. Then I found the the stamps left over from my decorative painting venture along with some small little bottles of dried up glaze. That was soo long ago.

For someone who saves EVERYTHING in the hopes I might find a use for it some day this really is hard. But I've saved so much over the years that my home is making me feel overwhelmed and anxious. There's no room for anything.

Disclaimer: I kept the bag of used up acrylic paint tubes though (I know- a weird thing to save- but I have this feeling I'll need them for a sculpture and it's not like I'll be able to source them again then)and some tin covers too. Explaining why I want to keep those to my husband's going to be a little tough so I stuck them behind something else. :)

All in all I've revisited an awful lot of my life today and I've realized a few things. By tossing out my floral trappings for good I'm acknowledging that the temporary hiatus I took from that business, after my son was born, is now permanent. I've left that phase of my life behind me and I'm glad because the place I'm going- where I'm committed to being the artist I always wanted to be, that's wonderful. Tossing out the old, embracing the new, it's a good thing.

So here's the question I have for you- what have you held onto out of a sense of fear that tossing it out would give you that freeing sensation? What pile of old whatever's really should get tossed? Is it photo's of an old relationship, trappings from a former existence, or paraphernalia from a past you need to move on from? Maybe clothes that are 3 sizes too large but you're afraid you really might gain that weight back again? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!!!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hurray, for you, Jenn! Love, Mom.

Single Stone Studios said...

So odd to pop on and read this today. My latest project has been put off for months bc I thought I just wasn't artistic enough to create it. I thought it was too much for me and I had given up on it. But now I'm doing it and it feels good...like a good s.t.r.e.t.c.h. ;)

Kerri said...

i don't hold on to much that takes up a lot of space. but old journals and letters. they don't take up a ton of space. and i just CAN'T throw them out. but i rarely, if ever, look back to them. but it's nice to know i COULD!

Robin Norgren said...

I do this thing where I do not make a schedule for running my creative business and kind of come at it as a hobby; that way I don't feel so attached. This post is helping me to realize I NEED to get "all in"...

perfectyellow said...

I'm the same way!!!! I keep everything!!!!! Everything seems to have a purpose, or will have a purpose one day! I too have recently cleaned out our house....and it does feel good! It de-clutters not only the house, but the mind! Sorry to hear, though, that you are trashing your old figure drawings......I maybe would have taken a few! Ha ha!

Kelly said...

I"m bad about keeping things too. I just KNOW that sometime I will need them for that special thing I'm working on... And usually that day never comes or if it does, I can't find whatever bit I've saved! Returning from San Francisco, we have been taking time out to toss some things that we've had for way too long. I started in the bathroom with old fingernail polish and toiletries - who really needs 3 different types foundations anyway?!? And it does feel good, in the heart and mind!
I also wish I could have seen your old figure drawings.. :) I love that kind of thing..

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

It feels so great to chuck things!

Concetta said...

I had to do a lot of tossing to make room for my studio so now I am a ruthless cleaner outer. Feels great doesnt it. I hang onto writings, letters...(oh and ALL my school exercise books and notes which is a bit strange I know!).

Mousy Brown said...

I read 'Handwash cold' this summer and the idea of living the life I was living instead of saving lots of things for the life I might lead really spoke to me. I enjoyed a huge clear out - throwing away all those things that I had plans for but knew I would never have time for - making room and clearing an enormous amount of guilt off my 'to do' list....boy did it feel good and I sware it has opened up my heart to so many new possibilities (now it isn't clogged with all that old stuff!) Congratulations on your clearout - sounds just what you needed too! :D