I'm one of those people who actually throws things away. I don't like clutter around my house, although I'm afraid that those spaces behind closed doors tend to get a bit crowded with things. But I've been on a getting-rid-of-things streak the last month or so. I went through my closets and put tons of old clothes and shoes into a big garbage bag and brought it down to the Goodwill. This morning, I went through all my jewelry, weeding out horrifying 1980s earrings and cheap necklaces and earrings that have not worn well with the passage of time. My next project is the basement—a huge undertaking since we've got all my daughter's old toys and books and some of my grandparents' things that really do need to get tossed.
This is not to say that I get rid of everything. I do keep things for sentimental reasons: the box of dishes my grandmother gave me when I moved into my first apartment; books of all kinds that have touched me in one way or another; old dolls that I spent hours playing with.
I'm not sure why I'm on this big kick, except that I've been feeling a little bit like I'm going to be moving into a new phase of my life. I turned 50 in August and am dodging the AARP, my daughter will be going to high school next year, and my husband is facing a change in his career. I just finished the last of my tattoo shop mysteries, and it's the last in my book contract with no new contract in sight.
Rather than feel uncertain and anxious about all of this, though, as I would have when I was younger, I'm pretty okay with all of it. I've been very lucky—in love, since my husband is pretty amazing; in being a mom, since my daughter, despite being in her sullen teenage years, is turning into quite a remarkable young woman; with good friends; with my newspaper career, which spanned more than 20 years, and now my job editing a medical journal; and with my writing, having now seven published novels, with one more set to be published in June.
The closet purge is what the professionals would probably say is preparation for this next phase in a very literal sense. Like how women who are bringing a new baby into the house "nest" right beforehand.
Do you find yourself doing a purge when you need to sort other things out in your life, too?