Thursday, July 17, 2008

Going through some of my personal history

When I was 23, I got married. I married a very nice man, but did so on the rebound from another. Being Catholic, I threw myself into the marriage. We had three sons and a fair amount of drama in our lives. I had a miscarriage the first time I got pregnant. While I was pregnant with my oldest son, my father-in-law lost a lung, and almost his life, to cancer. Right after I had my third son, my mother-in-law had her second bout with cancer. (Her first was before I met my husband.) We nursed her for five years and she died in our arms. After her death, everything changed. My husband worked for his mother and there was a great deal of stress on him to learn more about the business to take over. As my youngest went off to school, I went back to college and got my teaching degree. My first year of teaching was awful and I quit at the end of the year. It was in a private school and I also pulled my children and put them in public school. I was a substitute the following year in public school and that proved to be fabulous because when I applied for a teaching position the following year, I knew just where I wanted to be. During these years, my husband and I grew far apart. I am not terribly certain he ever wanted me to go to work. When I was a stay-at-home wife and mother, the house was always clean and dinner was always ready. We entertained extensively (something I really loved) and traveled with some frequency. His busy schedule added to the stress. After 17 years of marriage and a bit of marriage counseling, we divorced. As in most divorces, packing was not an easy time. Things got thrown into boxes and I went from living in a 5000 sq. ft. house to a small two bedroom apartment. The three boys made it clear they wanted to live with their father – a fact that drove me to counseling and almost did me in. (They all came to live with me eventually. Thank heavens my therapist helped me with patience!) Because of my much smaller living space, I rented a storage unit and stored most of my boxes.

Three years later I married my high school sweetheart – the love of my life! He had gotten divorced a few years earlier and moved from California to marry me. Neither of us came out of our marriages financially secure, so we rented a house for almost five years. Well, this year that has changed. We have moved into a beautiful house and have tons of room. But all those boxes have come back to haunt me. They are all out of storage and lurking in our game room over the garage and our smaller garage.

I am doing a pretty good job of getting rid of junk – using the old “if you haven’t needed it in 8 ½ years, you don’t need it now” theory. But there are some things that are just not that easy. When I used to entertain, I had tons of stuff – crystal, china, silver, linens – you know STUFF. We haven’t been able to entertain in the last five years as our house was way too small. But now? So do I keep the stuff? Pare down the stuff? I also used to cake decorate. I have made a number of lovely wedding cakes as well as other kinds. I have three or four boxes of cake decorating pans, cake plates, and other paraphernalia. Will I get back to using that? These are things I don’t feel quite ready to get rid of yet. At what point are you just holding on to the past? I find myself planning a New Year’s Eve party as I write this. I found all the stuff I used to do that with! Oh, my husband is not going to be a happy guy. He isn’t quite as social as I am!

I guess I will keep going through boxes and get rid of the easy stuff. I will have to think about the rest. And see what I can convince my wonderful husband I NEED to keep! Feeling pretty good about the day : 9 boxes of books gone (a few sold and most donated) , 7 boxes sorted and put away, 2 boxes filled with more donations, and three very large trash bags full. Thanks to my Plurk friend, Karen for getting me motivated on three goals for the day. I got more done than expected!


McTeach said...

Wow! What a wonderful reflection! Isn't it amazing that giving ourselves permission to just accomplish three small goals can lead to accomplishing so much more. Having too much to tackle usually freezes me in my place. It's almost like my brain says, "You'll never get all this done, so why bother getting started at all!"

I went to Target last week and bought myself a small white board. Every day I write down three little goals. Nothing huge. Just three things that, when accomplished, will help me feel better about myself at the end of the day. I find it really helps. I'm so glad it worked for you too!

I'm loving the idea of a Three-A-Day Club! Together we can change the world!


SherryC said...

I have used this approach before, but needed someone to prompt me. From the pictures, you can see why I am so overwhelmed. I am feeling better that I am not pressuring myself to make a decision on getting rid of everything right away. A little time to work into those decisions is okay.

I can see this getting finished soon this way. AND I am feeling more creative about school now that I am getting something done! Nice to have some pressure lifted!